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Transformations of intimacy and sociality in anorexia : bedrooms in public institutions.

Warin, M. (2005) 'Transformations of intimacy and sociality in anorexia : bedrooms in public institutions.', Body & society., 11 (3). pp. 97-113.


Anorexia can be characterized as a profound transformation in social relations. These transformations occur across a number of overlapping fields, and include a range of institutional and domestic spaces and myriad mundane bodily practices in each. Through an examination of household space and a conventional treatment programme this article demonstrates the ways in which people with anorexia use and transform space. While there are many treatment programmes available for those with a diagnosis of anorexia, the ethnographic focus here is on those who have undergone bed programmes in public hospitals. As a result of the particularities of time and space, these rooms are transformed into intimate spaces that represent domestic bedrooms, thus fundamentally changing the nature of shared space in institutionalized settings. These transformations, however, are not straightforward, for these bedrooms fuse a number of bodily practices (such as eating, sleeping and abluting) that are sharply demarcated in domestic architecture. In these hospital bedrooms, private and public space is conflated, reversed and made ambiguous. Moreover, this article argues that this institutional transformation of space reproduces many of the private practices associated with anorexia, a factor which has been overlooked in the recorded failure of these types of programmes.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Anorexia, Embodiment, Relatedness, Space.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Body & society, 11/3, 2005, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2005 at the Body & society page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Record Created:27 Jan 2009
Last Modified:31 Aug 2011 09:53

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