Mayes began the workshop with a brief overview of his paper. Mayes claimed that the theoretical framework of “pre” is general notion used to capture preemptive, precautionary, and preventive principles that aim at predicting and pre-empting threats prior to their actualization. A key theme of his paper (drawing from Diprose, Francois Ewald, and others) is the shift from a perception of risk that is naturally occurring and calculable to one that is incalculable and the result of human agency, particularly with respect to how the latter can lead to catastrophe.
Mayes draws upon governmental and bioethical literature (rather than risk management literature) in order to frame how obesity fits into this theoretical framework. Specifically, he does this by focusing on three relationships that characterize political rationality: (i) the relation of the present to the future, (ii) the relation freedom has to security, and (iii) the relation an individual has to populations. Mayes uses his theoretical framework of “pre” to diagnosis the Australian government’s response to obesity in its Measure Up campaign (see http://www.measureup.gov.au). While the campaign is described in detail in his paper, Mayes initial presentation involved a brief introduction of various public health videos that have been used in Australia and also distributed a measuring tape used to determine the degree to which you may be at risk for obesity.