top of page


A collaboration between the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford 

This project examines how the material culture of the home environment shapes the development and experience of eating disorders and obesity. While it is widely recognized that a person’s material home environment can increase or reduce the risk of disordered eating, public health campaigns for the prevention of obesity and eating disorders continue to focus on individual behaviour change. This approach risks dislocating lived experiences of obesity and eating disorders from environmental, relational, and structural dynamics - dynamics that anthropologists, psychologists, and other social scientists have shown play a central role in eating and feeding practices. Considering the widely-documented limited effect of public health campaigns focused on behaviour change, alongside the continuing increase in rates of obesity and disordered eating, urgent attention should be turned to contextualizing eating and feeding behaviours within home environments. The project responds to a policy-relevant need for understanding how everyday material culture can influence people’s eating and feeding practices.

Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund


UBVO Workshop 

Materialities of Obesity and Eating Disorders:

New Directions for Policy?

Monday, March 30


Caroline Potter & Stanley Ulijaszek

University of Oxford

Materialities of obesity and eating disorders – an introduction


Anna Lavis & Karin Eli

University of Birmingham & University of Oxford

Materialities of eating

Karin Eli & Sabine Parrish

University of Oxford

Qualitative analyses of materialities of disordered eating and obesity



Open discussion: policy directions and funding futures

Participants from Sweden, Denmark, United States and United Kingdom  

Workshop reception (virtual)



Stanley Ulijaszek (University of Oxford)


Caroline Potter (University of Oxford)

Karin Eli (Warwick University)

Anna Lavis (University of Birmingham)

Sabine Parrish (University of Oxford)

Related UBVO podcasts 

Anna Lavis - Anorexia, care and comfort

Karin Eli - Liminal living: eating disordered embodiment and the reconfiguring of social eating 

Stanley Ulijaszek - Obesity and consumption


Chris Forth - The fat(tened) American: between consumption, disgust and animality

Heather Howard - Bariatric surgery's intersubjective embodiments

Emma Rich - The obesity epidemic and how bodies come to be through the pedagogies of digital health

Rebecca D Harris - My fat body: an axis for research

Rachel Colls - Exploring critical geographies of obesity and fatness: environments, bodies and activism

Emily Troscianko - How literary studies can help us understand eating disorders

Ryan Foley - Marketing conscious consumption

bottom of page