Hardback
December 13, 2022
9781421445281
English
280
104098
19
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$50.00 USD, £37.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
December 13, 2022
9781421445298
9781421445281
English
280
104098
19
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$50.00 USD, £37.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Why Wellness Sells

Natural Health in a Pharmaceutical Culture

How and why the idea of wellness holds such rhetorical—and harmful—power.

In Why Wellness Sells, Colleen Derkatch examines why the concept of wellness holds such rhetorical power in contemporary culture. Public interest in wellness is driven by two opposing philosophies of health that cycle into and amplify each other: restoration, where people use natural health products to restore themselves to prior states of wellness; and enhancement, where people strive for maximum wellness by optimizing their body's systems and functions.

Why Wellness Sells tracks the tension between these two ideas of wellness across a variety of sources, including interviews, popular and social media, advertising, and online activism. Derkatch examines how wellness manifests across multiple domains, where being "well" means different things, ranging from a state of pre-illness to an empowered act of good consumer-citizenship, from physical or moral purification to sustenance and care, and from harm reduction to optimization. Along the way, Derkatch demonstrates that the idea of wellness may promise access to the good life, but it serves primarily as a strategy for coping with a devastating and overwhelming present.

Drawing on scholarship in the rhetoric of health and medicine, the health and medical humanities, and related fields, Derkatch offers a nuanced account of how language, belief, behavior, experience, and persuasion collide to produce and promote wellness, one of the most compelling—and harmful—concepts that govern contemporary Western life. She explains that wellness has become so pervasive in the United States and Canada because it is an ever-moving, and thus unachievable, goal. The concept of wellness entrenches an individualist model of health as a personal responsibility, when collectivist approaches would more readily serve the health and well-being of whole populations.

About the Author

Colleen Derkatch (TORONTO, ON) is an associate professor in the Department of English at Toronto Metropolitan University and the author of Bounding Biomedicine: Evidence and Rhetoric in the New Science of Alternative Medicine.

Endorsements

"I loved this book. Not only is Why Wellness Sells a beautifully written, original, and rigorous piece of scholarship that expands our scholarly understanding of health, illness, and wellness—and, importantly, their intersections—but it's eminently readable, clearly and compellingly argued, and its subject matter couldn't be timelier. It's one of the best academic books I've read in a long time."

- Jenell Johnson, University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History

"Why Wellness Sells is an engaging, beautifully written, and original exploration of contemporary wellness culture. Without snark or jargon, Derkatch offers a fresh take on the language and marketing of wellness. This book is a treat."

- Norah A. MacKendrick, Rutgers University, author of Better Safe Than Sorry: How Consumers Navigate Exposure to Everyday Toxics

"Wellness cultures and practices are political. Wellness is a source of income and influence, but also a way of making people feel that it is their fault that they don't feel healthy or contented. After you read this wonderful book, you will never see the wellness-industrial-complex the same way again."

- Deborah Lupton, University of New South Wales
Johns Hopkins University Press
Health Communication
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Hardback
December 13, 2022
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