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It is certainly not true that the population can be easily divided into those who lead healthy lifestyles, and those who do not: most people's patterns are mixed, with both good and bad areas of life.
Blaxter, Mildred, Health and lifestyles. London (Routledge), 1990, 134

... 'circumstances' - not only socio-economic circumstances and the external environment, but also the individual's psycho-social environment - carry rather more weight, as determinants of health, than healthy or unhealthy behaviours. There is no doubt that the four behaviours examined, and in particular smoking, are relevant to health. They have most effect, however, when the social environment is good: rather less, if it is already unhealthy. Unhealthy behaviour does not reinforce disadvantage to the same extent as healthy behaviour increases advantage. This seems to suggest that the prior effect on health is the general lifestyle associated with economic or occupational position. Only in the more favourable circumstances is there 'room' for considerable damage or improvement by the adoption of voluntary health-related habits.
Blaxter, Mildred, Health and lifestyles. London (Routledge), 1990, 233

The concept of lifestyle inherently means ways or styles of living that are not the same for all people. Ways or patterns of living involve widely different combinations of specific behavioral practices that may characterize subgroups of the population. Preoccupation with specific behavioral practices interferes with the process of obtaining knowledge about the health enhancing or health damaging effects of different patterns of daily life. It also ignores the cultural and situational determinants of lifestyles and the importance of realistic options for living in wys that may be more health enhancing.
Dean, Kathryn; Colomer, Concha & Perez-Hoyos, Santiago (1995), Research on lifestyles and health: searching for meaning. In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 41, No. 6, 845-855, here: 854

Green consumerism generally, and 'healthy' products and lifestyles in particular, contain quite precise notions about how an individual should consider his or her well-being. Not only is the market-place celebrated but an understanding of the 'natural body' itself becomes fetishised and idolised. Normality seems to have wholly dispensed with bodily illness and pain. Perfection is the norm, and one that can be gained through acquiring the correct products and perfecting the body.
Dickens, Peter, Society and nature. Towards a green social theory. Philadelphia (Temple University Press), 1992, 159

People can try to eat the correct things, take the correct amount of exercise, worry less and so forth. But in the end fate or destiny is seen as taking its toll. People die, to use a commonly used phrase, 'when their number's up'.
Dickens, Peter, Society and nature. Towards a green social theory. Philadelphia (Temple University Press), 1992, 161

The satisfactions in smoking and drinking and driving are not private pleasures. Even if they were, habits would still be hard to change because they are locked into life styles. But most habits, good and bad, are social, rooted in community life.
In a tight community a man has his work cut out to meet the neighbors' standards. This is where he gets the health education that he cannot ignore. (p. 85)
A real-life risk portfolio is not a selection made by private ratiocination. (p. 85)
Douglas, Mary & Wildavsky, Aaron, Risk and culture. An essay on the selection of technological and environmental dangers. Berkeley, CA (University of California Press), 1982, 84

... each kind of community is a thought world, expressed in its own thought style, penetrating the minds of its members, defining their experience, and setting the poles of their moral understanding.
Douglas, Mary (1986), How institutions think. Syracuse, N.Y. (Syracuse University Press), 128

Why do we make a distinction between socially unacceptable and socially acceptable lifestyles, even though both may lead to disease and dysfunction? We excoriate the smoker but congratulate the skier. Yet both skiing and smoking may lead to injury, may be costly, and are clearly risky. We have created a new medical speciality to take care of sports injuries, an acknowledgment of the hazardous sequelae. And though there are no doubt benefits to exercise and sports, the literature on the complications of some activities is such that were they drugs, they would probably have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration years ago. (...)
We must beware of developing a zealotry about health, in which we take ourselves too seriously and believe that we know enough to dictate human behavior, penalize people for disagreeing with us, and even deny people charity, empathy, and understanding because they act in a way of which we disapprove.
Fitzgerald, Faith T. (1994), The tyranny of health: In: The New England Journal of Medicine, No. 3, Vol. 331, 196-198, here: 187

To a greater or lesser degree, the project of the self becomes translated into one of the possession of desired goods and the pursuit of artificially framed styles of life.
Not just lifestyles, but self-actualisation is packaged and distributed according to market criteria.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 198

Achieving control over change, in respect to lifestyle, demands an engagement with the outer social world rather than a retreat from it.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 184

Both life-planning and the adoption of lifestyle options become (in principle) integrated with bodily regimes. It would be quite short-sighted to see this phenomenon only in terms of changing ideals of bodily appearance (such as slimness or youthfulness), or as solely brought about by the commodifying influence of advertising. We become responsible for the design of our own bodies, and in a certain sense noted above are forced to do so the more post-traditional the social contexts in which we move.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 102

Addiction signals a particular mode of control over parts of one's day-to-day life - and also over the self. The specific importance of addiction can be understood in the following way. Addictions has to be understood in terms of a society in which tradition has more thoroughly been swept away than ever before and in which the reflexive project of self correspondingly assumes an especial importance. Where large areas of a person's life are no longer set by pre-existing patterns and habits, the individual is continually obliged to negotiate life-style options. Moreover - and this is crucial - such choices are not just 'external' or marginal aspects of [Seitenwechsel] the individual's attitudes, but define who the individual 'is'. In other words, life-style choices are constitutive of the reflexive narrative of self.
Giddens, Anthony (1994), The transformation of intimacy. Sexuality, love and eroticism in modern societies. Cambridge (Polity Press), 74-75

While emancipatory politics is a politics of life chances, life politics is a politics of lifestyle. Life politics is the politics of a reflexively mobilised order - the system of late modernity - which, on an individual and collective level, has radically altered the existential parameters of social activity. It is a politics of self-actualisation in a reflexively ordered environment, where that reflexivity links self and body to systems of global scope. (...) [L]ife politics concerns political issues which flow from processes of self-actualisation in post-traditional contexts, where globalising influences intrude deeply into the reflexive project of the self, and conversely where processes of self-realisation influence global strategies.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 214

The difficulties of living in a secular risk culture are compounded by the importance of lifestyle choices.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 182

Life-planning takes account of a 'package' of risks rather than calculating the implications of distinct segments of risky behaviour. Taking certain risks in pursuit of a given lifestyle, in other words, is accepted to be within 'tolerable limits' as part of the overall package.
Thinking in terms of risk becomes more or less inevitable and [Seitenwechsel] most people will ne conscious also of the risks of [refusing - kursiv] to think in this way, even if they may choose to ignore those risks. In the charged reflexive settings of high modernity, living on 'automatic pilot' becomes more and more difficult to do, and it becomes less and less possible to protect any lifestyle, no matter how firmly pre-established, from the generalised risk climate.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 125-126

A lifestyle involves a cluster of habits and orientations, and hence has a certain unity - important to a continuing sense of ontological security - that connects options in a more or less ordered pattern. (...) [T]he selection or creation of lifestyles is influenced by group pressures and the visibility of role models, as well as by socioeconomic circumstances.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 82

A lifestyle can be defined as a more or less integrated set of practices which an individual embraces, not only because such practices fulfil utalitarian needs, but because they give material form to a particular narrative of self-identity.
Lifestyles are routined practices, the routines incorporated into habits of dress, eating, modes of acting and favoured milieux for encountering others; but the routines followed are reflexively open to change in the light of the mobile nature of self-identity.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 81

In a world of alternative lifestyle options, strategic [life planning - kursiv] becomes of special importance. Like lifestyle patterns, life plans of one kind or another are something of an inevitable concomitant of post-traditional social forms. Life plans are the substantial content of the reflexively organised trajectory of the self. Life-planning is a means of preparing a course of future actions mobilised in terms of the self's biography. We may also speak here of the existence of personal calendars or [life-plan calendars - kursiv], in relation to which the personal time of the lifespan is handled.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 85

Lifestyles are characteristically attached to, and expressive of, specific milieux of action. Lifestyle options are thus often decisions to become immersed in those milieux, at the expense of the possible alternatives.
A lifestyle sector concerns a time-space 'slice' of an individual's overall activities, within which a reasonably consistent and ordered set of practices is adopted and enacted. Lifestyle sectors are aspects of the regionalisation of activities. A lifestyle sector can include, for instance, what one does on certain evenings of the week, or at weekends, as contrasted to other parts of the week; a friendship, or marriage, can also be a lifestyle sector in so far as it is made internally cohesive by distinctive forms of elected behaviour across time-space.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press), 83

A society which denies that I am my brother's and sister's keeper, which forces a dog-eat-dog life-style upon me (or, if you prefer another animal metaphor, forces me into an unending rat race), which has my comfort depend on the poverty of Latin America and the Third World, which rewards asocial work, condemns people to be second- or third-generation welfare recipients, which dresses me in clothes made by sweated labor in former European colonies, which does not force me out onto the street in my free time to cheer some Führer but likes me to keep myself in line in front of a TV with a can of beer - oh, there are as many ways to feel oppressed as there are to skin a cat.
Koning, Hans (1987), Nineteen sixty-eight. A personal report. New York (W.W. Norton & Co.), here: 63-64

Maxim 256:
In every walk of life each man puts on a personality and outward appearance so as to look what he wants to be thought; in fact you might say that society is entirely made up of assumed personalities.
La Rochefoucauld (1959), Maxims. Translated with an introduction by Leonard Tancock. London (Penguin), 71

Maxim 310:
Sometimes in life situations develop that only the half-crazy can get out of.
La Rochefoucauld (1959), Maxims. Translated with an introduction by Leonard Tancock. London (Penguin), 78

Maxim 629:
Luxury and excessive refinement are sure forerunners of the decadence of states, because when all individuals seek their own interests they neglect the public weal.
La Rochefoucauld (1959), Maxims. Translated with an introduction by Leonard Tancock. London (Penguin), 123

A voluntary simplification of life-styles is not beyond our abilities, but it is probably outside our desires.
McKibben, Bill, The end of nature. New York (Anchor), 1990, 193

We'll look for almost any reason not to change our attitudes; the inertia of the established order is powerful. If we can think of a plausible, or even implausible, reason to discount environmental warnings, we will.
McKibben, Bill, The end of nature. New York (Anchor), 1990, 197

The emphasis on 'healthy' individual lifestyle, on individual responsibility for health, and on the assumption that individual behaviour can - if backed up by educational measures - resist the powerful social forces acting upon it, can be seen as an attempt to legitimize cost-containment arrangements and, thus, divert attention from social reforms.
Research Unit in Health and Behavioural Change (1989), Changing the public health. Chichester (Wiley & Sons), 141

Individual life style changes are unlikely to occur, at more than a minimum level, without the economic and structural support which is necessary as a foundation for such changes.
Research Unit in Health and Behavioural Change (1989), Changing the public health. Chichester (Wiley & Sons), 144

This is the beauty that emerges from self-confidence, class confidence. That says, I am not born to please. I am born to be pleased.
Sontag, Susan (1993), The volcano lover. A romance. London (Vintage Books), 132

The lifestyle of a social group characterises the totality of patterns of meaning and forms of expression which are produced by a group in the course of collective efforts to cope with the demands and contradictions of the social structures and situations common to all members of that group. The lifestyle brings together efforts related to the demands made, i.e. the external (social, political, economic and cultural) conditions and efforts related to the subjective situation and condition. In the lifestyle is expressed under what conditions a social group acts or reacts in a particular way, i.e. the lifestyle tells us in which directions a group tends to develop its behaviour in the ongoing process of coping with the conditions in which they live. These tendencies, in the forms of common social values, norms, language forms, interaction rituals etc., provide a reservoir for individuals or subgroups which they can draw on for their personal and social identity; it makes it possible for them to give some sense and meaning to their specific situation.

The lifestyle of an individual characterises the totality of normative behavioural structures which is developed in the course of his or her life in the ongoing interaction with his or her social and natural environment. Subjective motivation and also potential action are expressed through the lifestyles and are used by the individual according to social situations. The individual's lifestyle contains variations, additions to and omissions from the collective lifestyle which are specific to that individual's personality; nevertheless the individual remains linked to his particular social group - i.e. any change in his or her lifestyle is bound by the collectively developed framework - unless, with this change, there is also a change of the social group, or it is the group which wishes to undergo such a change.

This concept of lifestyles creates a close link between the living conditions of an individual, his activities and socially formed strategies for coping with life. Characteristic for this is the linking of individual and collective lifestyles in relation to the particular socio-structural conditions in which the individual lives. Individual behaviour is understood as being largely socially determined - with the implication, among others, that to change it, social changes are necessary. Thus the message for health promotion and health education is that integrative strategies for prevention and intervention must be developed - strategies whose chief characteristic is that they link up the various social sectors and are also effective within them.

Wenzel, Eberhard (1983), Lifestyles and living conditions and their impact on health - A report of the meeting. In: Scottish Health Education Group, European Monographs in Health Education Research. Vol. 5. Edinburgh (SHEG), 1-18, here: 7-8

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Copyright © by Eberhard Wenzel, 1997-2001