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Reconfiguring relatedness in anorexia.

Warin, M. (2006) 'Reconfiguring relatedness in anorexia.', Anthropology & medicine., 13 (1). pp. 41-54.


Anthropological concepts of relatedness have not been addressed in any of the writings on anorexia, despite the literature being replete with negative connotations of sociality such as withdrawal, regression, and toxic families (in the form of 'obsessive mothers' or 'absent fathers'). As a departure to the vast literature on this topic, this multi-sited ethnographic project draws on the recent critiques and broadening of the concept of kinship to examine the ways in which a group of people with a diagnosis of anorexia understood and experienced relatedness in their everyday lives, that is, how they continually transformed connections by truncating, creating, sustaining and abandoning them. Those practices that are taken for granted as creating and sustaining relatedness - from the everyday practices of commensality to the capacity to have children - were consistently negated. Negating consensual avenues of relatedness did not leave these people in a void. On the contrary, new and productive meanings and experiences of being related were created and people entered into a relationship with anorexia that, in turn, tempered their relationships with their everyday worlds. In examining the 'relational matrix' of anorexia, new spaces of agency, ambiguity and power are illuminated.

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Record Created:28 Mar 2008
Last Modified:26 Nov 2009 12:19

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