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'Anorexia Nervosa' : asceticism, differentiation, government

Tait, Gordon (1993) 'Anorexia Nervosa' : asceticism, differentiation, government. Journal of Sociology, 29(2), pp. 194-208.

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Abstract

This paper looks at the severe fasting practices most commonly found among young women. Almost all explanations for this behaviour centre around the notion of the pathological condition 'anorexia nervosa'. However, food asceticism has a well-documented history, particularly when it concerns religious fasting. In ancient Greece, dietary asceticism constituted an important part of the means by which individuals constructed an acceptable 'self'. Ascetic fasting then later resurfaced at various historical moments and in various different places — such as amongst medieval religious women and, in a broader way, amongst contemporary young women. It is argued that these practices have traditionally formed part of the mechanisms by which differentiation by age and sex occurs. Overall, it is hoped that this analysis will permit not only a different focus on 'anorexia nervosa', but also on some of the ways in which young people become gendered.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 28862
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Anorexia Nervosa, Fasting, Asceticism, Practices of the self, Governance
DOI: 10.1177/144078339302900203
ISSN: 1440-7833
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Cultural Theory (200204)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1993 Please consult the author.
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2009 10:31
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2010 00:11

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