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Performing Diabetes: Surveillance and Self-Management




Sustaining the diabetic body involves visible practices of expert self-management: injecting insulin and testing blood sugar levels. Drawing form qualitative interviews I consider how people with diabetes manage the visibility of these practices relative to space. For many, the practices of diabetes are configured as ‘to be hidden’, and micro-spatial strategies are frequently deployed to conceal injections and tests from possible observing others. Diabetes then, is often a performance, one influenced by the performativity in space and place in which bodies are felt to be monitored. People with diabetes internalise self-disciplinary practices – keeping their diabetes discreet – especially in public. In this paper I contend that because of this performed discretion of diabetes self-management practices, there is a barrier to knowing diabetic bodies and lifeworlds. I suggest that, through increasing awareness of this subtle performance and surveillance, people with diabetes may feel less restricted in their self-management when in public space.


Lucherini. (2016). Performing Diabetes: Surveillance and Self-Management. Surveillance & Society,

Acceptance Date Sep 21, 2016
Publication Date Sep 21, 2016
Journal Surveillance and Society
Print ISSN 1477-7487
Publisher Surveillance Studies Network
Keywords diabetes, panopticism, performance, self-concealment, self-management
Publisher URL