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Fitness has become our obsession. From state initiatives to improve public health through exercise, through the commodification of fitness driven by the media and the fitness industry, to an individual#xE2;#xAC;"s quest to build the perfect body in the gym, we are all being encouraged to strive for fitness. In this important new introductory textbook, Jennifer Smith Maguire explores the socio-cultural study of fitness, examining our shifting notions of fitness and health and assessing their cultural, political and economic impact. The book presents a comprehensive overview of existing research, including the most important theoretical and methodological perspectives, and explains how fitness and the body are understood by nations, economic systems, communities and individuals. Multi-disciplinary in scope, the book introduces key topics such as: fitness and identity fitness and gender the individual body and the social body healthism and the political economy of health the role of fitness practitioners, personal trainers and exercise instructors the health club fitness at local and global levels fitness and the world of work. The book includes a full range of useful features, such as discussion questions, research tasks, critical reflection exercises, and guides to further reading and resources, as well as extensive extracts from key writings on related topics. Fitness, the Body and Societyis an essential course text for all students of the sociology of fitness, health, the body, exercise or sport.