Hutson, David J. 2020. “Reframing and Resisting: How Women Navigate the Medicalization of Pregnancy Weight.” Pp. 109-128 in Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 20: Reproduction, Health, and Medicine, edited by S. Markens, M. Waggoner, and E. Armstrong. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing. [Website]

Gruys, Kjerstin and David J. Hutson, David J. 2019. “The Aesthetic Labor of Ethnographers.” The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Body and Embodiment, edited by N. Boero and K. Mason. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. [Website]

Hutson, David J. 2017. “Plump or Corpulent? Lean or Gaunt? Historical Categories of Bodily Health in Nineteenth-Century Thought.” Social Science History, 41(2): 283-303. [Website]

Hutson, David J. 2017. “Teaching Critical Perspectives on Body Weight: The Obesity 'Epidemic' and Pro-Ana Movement in Classroom Discussions.” Teaching Sociology, 45(1): 41-53. [Website]

Hutson, David J. 2016. “Training Bodies, Building Status: Negotiating Gender and Age Differences in the U.S. Fitness Industry.” Qualitative Sociology 39(1): 49-70.  [Website][Download PDF]

Hutson, David J. 2013. “‘Your Body is Your Business Card’: Bodily Capital and Health Authority in the Fitness Industry.” Social Science & Medicine 90: 63-71. [Website][Download PDF]

Hutson, David J. 2011. "Looking Within from Without." Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 12: Sociology of Diagnosis, pp. xxix-xxxvii, PJ McGann and David J. Hutson (eds). Emerald Publishing Group: Wales, UK. [Website]

Hutson, David J. 2010. “Standing OUT/Fitting IN: Identity, Appearance, and Authenticity in Gay and Lesbian Communities.” Symbolic Interaction 33(2): 213-233. [Website][Download PDF]

Martin, Karin A., David J. Hutson, Emily Kazyak, and Kristin S. Scherrer. 2010. “Advice When Children Come Out: The Cultural ‘Tool Kits’ of Parents." Journal of Family Issues 31(7): 960-991. [Website]


My research investigates health and fitness, gender, and medical sociology through the lens of the body. Specifically, I am interested in studying the meanings of body weight (both contemporary and historical), bodily changes involving diet/exercise and surgery, and how broader health and fitness discourses are influenced by the institution of medicine.

For example, I have explored how the fit-appearing physiques of personal trainers provide them with a degree of health and moral authority in their interactions with clients (published in Social Science & Medicine), and how both clients and personal trainers use “bodily capital” to negotiate gender and age status differences (published in Qualitative Sociology). My study on pregnancy weight (published in the AMS series) explores how women navigate the medicalization of body weight throughout and after their pregnancy. I have also conducted a content analysis of 19th-century medical journals to examine historical categories of body weight (published in Social Science History), and suggested strategies for teaching critical perspectives on weight and health (published in Teaching Sociology).

A secondary aim of my research is to understand the connection between appearance and social status. Accordingly, much of my research utilizes the framework of "bodily capital"—a multi-faceted concept including attractiveness and physical ability that provides a way to understand why people invest time and money into their bodies, and what they expect to receive in return. A chapter in the Oxford Handbook series (co-authored with Kjerstin Gruys) on “The Aesthetic Labor of Ethnographers” looks at how researchers must often participate in emotional and aesthetic labor while doing ethnography, and I have written about how appearance choices made after “coming out” are connected to gay and lesbian individuals’ identity and status in a post-closet context (published in Symbolic Interaction).

Currently, I am concluding a project interviewing pregnant and recently pregnant women about the experience of putting on and trying to take off “baby weight,” and beginning a new study on men who have undergone bariatric surgery.

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