Fasting and the female body : from the ascetic to the pathological

Tait, Gordon (1999) Fasting and the female body : from the ascetic to the pathological. Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, 11(1), pp. 58-75.

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This paper will examine the literature on ‘anorexia nervosa’, and argue that it is underpinned by three fundamental assumptions. First, ‘anorexia nervosa’ is a reflection of the mismatch between true ‘inner self’ and the external ‘false self’, the latter self being the distorted product of a male dominated society. Second, the explanation for the severe fasting practices constitutive of ‘anorexia nervosa’ (a new social problem) is to be found within the binary opposition of resistance/conformity to contemporary cultural expectations. Finally, ‘anorexia nervosa’ is a problem which exists in nature (i.e., independently of analysis). It was eventually discovered, named and explained. This paper will problematise each of these assumptions in turn, and in doing so, it will propose an alternative way of understanding contemporary fasting practices.

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ID Code: 28865
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Anorexia Nervosa, Practices of the Self, Asceticism
DOI: 10.1080/07407709908571319
ISSN: 0740-770X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Culture Gender Sexuality (200205)
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 1999 Please consult the author.
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2009 01:45
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 14:11

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