Accepted Paper:

Working out: class and the economics of sweat in Mozambique  

Author:

Julie Soleil Archambault (Concordia University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I discuss the preliminary findings of research I’m carrying out on the pursuit of fitness in Mozambique and on the spread of the global wellness industry across sub-Saharan Africa.

Paper long abstract:

When the municipal park in the Mozambican city of Inhambane was rehabilitated a couple of years ago, the developers also included public exercise machines likes the ones found along the coast in places like Lisbon or Santa Monica. Unlike the private indoor gym which caters for expatriates and the local middle class, the park tends to attract mainly children. In some back yards, you'll even find makeshift home gyms with weights made of concrete and large canvas bags filled with sand. And every day before sunrise, there are scores of joggers who run around this sleepy town. All these scenes speak of a relatively new activity in this part of the world: working out. Although agriculture and arduous household chores have historically kept women fit, and although playing football has long been a popular pastime among young men, the growing interest in fitness is driven by desires and pressures that are significantly different. The very understanding of what constitutes fitness, along with ideas about body aesthetics, are also changing. In this paper I discuss the preliminary findings of research I'm carrying out on the pursuit of fitness in Mozambique and on the spread of the global wellness industry across sub-Saharan Africa.

Panel P185
In pursuit of "wellness"