Weighing Posthumanism: Fatness and Contested Humanity

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Weighing Posthumanism: Fatness and Contested Humanity


  • Sofia Apostolidou Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Jules Sturm Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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Abstract:  Our project on fatness begins by turning attention to the multiple cultural instances in which fatness has been intrinsically linked with notions such as self—neglect and poor self—management. In Foucauldian terms, we analyse the fat subject as a failed homo economicus, an individual who has failed to be an “entrepreneur of himself, being for himself his own capital, being for himself his own producer, being for himself the source of [his] earnings” (Foucault, 2008, p. 226). From this perspective, we analyse instances of collective hatred towards fat subjects as direct results of the biopolitical triplet of responsibility, rationality, and morality. Morality is our bridge into the field of posthumanism, in which, as we demonstrate, these biopolitical imperatives also apply, reinforced by the field’s fascination with prosthetics and enhancement. Where, by biopolitical standards, fat subjects have failed to manage themselves, posthuman subjects find themselves guilty of not responsibly, rationally, and morally manipulating themselves to optimal productivity. Using criticism that disability studies scholars like Sarah S. Jain and Vivian Sobchack have voiced about posthumanism, we demonstrate the ways in which, within posthumanism, all subjects can be found as lacking when compared to their potential, enhanced post­human version.

Keywords:  biopolitics; disability studies; fat studies; posthumanism; prosthesis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v4i4.705


© Sofia Apostolidou, Jules Sturm. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.