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Sustained multiplicity in everyday cholesterol reduction: repertoires and practices in talk about 'healthy living'
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 15:37 authored by Catherine WillCatherine Will, Kate Weiner
This paper is concerned with talk about and the practices of healthy living in relation to cholesterol reduction. It draws on qualitative interviews with 89 people who are current or former users of either cholesterol-lowering functional foods and/or statins for cardiovascular risk reduction. Focussing on people’s talk about the practicalities of their daily lives including food preparation, shopping and physical activity, we illustrate four repertoires that feature in this talk (health; pleasure; sociality; pragmatism). Using Gilbert and Mulkay’s (1984) notion of a ‘reconciliation device’, we suggest ways that apparently contradictory repertoires are discursively reconciled, for example through talk about moderation, but also note that there are other ways of distancing oneself from a concern with health. For example, we suggest that in contrast to the interactiveness of the repertoires of health and pleasure, a pragmatic repertoire concerning food provisioning, storage and cooking as well as the daily realities of exercise, stands apart from talk about health and remains relatively inert. Finally we question the implications of these repertoires for daily practices. The interview data suggest little emphasis on ‘coherence’ in people’s practices and illustrate the significance of temporal, spatial and social distribution in allowing people to pursue different priorities within their everyday lives. Rather than the calculated trade-offs of earlier medical sociologists such as Backett (1992) we draw on Mol (2002) to foreground the possibility of sustained multiplicity in daily practices.
- Published version
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Department affiliated with
- Sociology and Criminology Publications
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