"I need to be fit to exercise": Teleoaffective misalignment through body evaluation and body projection practices for mothers.

Fiona Spotswood, Lauren Gurrieri

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstract

Abstract

This qualitative study foregrounds the role of the ‘socio-cultural body’ in the way inactive mothers from the UK envision the possibilities of engaging with exercise. 23 in-depth, online interviews were conducted during COVID-19 lockdowns, when the UK government was emphasising the importance of exercise to combat the effects of the pandemic. Our study illuminates that mothers routinely perform pre-performative practices when considering the possibility of exercise; namely body evaluation and projection practices. These practices are performed in relation to envisioned practices, and are done with, through and in relation to fleshy and idealised bodies. The pre-performative practices construct a ‘failing’ mothering body, which is collectively understood as insufficient and inappropriate to enact exercise. Mothers also draw on the culturally idealised ‘exercising body’; an effortless thin and fit body entrenched in the teleoaffective structures of exercise practices. The exercising body is informed by marketing and media discourses that suffuse mothers’ experience of exercise. Our research illuminates
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that ‘teleoaffective misalignment’ ensues when mothers envision exercise and routinely perform these practices. We define teleoaffective misalignment as misalignment between the beliefs and understandings in pre-performative practices and the teleoaffective structure of a practice. This misalignment brings negative affective intensity and further fuels pre-performative practice enactments centred around the body, locking affective displeasure into mothers’ relationships with exercise. Exercise is consequently not successfully performed, and mothers exit the field. The body is strongly implicated in how pre-performative practices and teleoaffective misalignment serve to inhibit practice performance and has a role to play in how mothers form a relationship with exercise practices. Policy makers, social marketers and fitness marketers should pay attention to the cultural body ideals that are produced through marketing and media activity, and seek to understand their role in unequal opportunity, enjoyment and performance of exercise that negatively affect mothers
Original languageEnglish
Pages38-38
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2023
EventMid-term Conference of the Research Network of Sociology of Health and Medicine, European Sociological Association (ESA RN16): Sociology Of Health And Medicine In The Public Arena During The Covid-19 Pandemic And Beyo - Hollar Building of Charles University (Faculty of Social Sciences), Smetanovo nábř. 995/6, Prague, Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 24 May 202326 May 2023
https://iss.fsv.cuni.cz/en/esarn16

Conference

ConferenceMid-term Conference of the Research Network of Sociology of Health and Medicine, European Sociological Association (ESA RN16)
Abbreviated titleESA RN16
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
CityPrague
Period24/05/2326/05/23
Internet address

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