Abject Relations presents an alternative approach to anorexia nervosa, long considered the epitome of a Western obsession with individualism, beauty, self-control, and autonomy. Through detailed ethnographic investigations, Megan Warin looks at the heart of what it means to live with anorexia on a daily basis. Participants describe difficulties with social relatedness, not being at home in their body, and feeling disgusting and worthless. For them, anorexia becomes a seductive and empowering practice that cleanses bodies of shame and guilt, becomes a friend and support, and allows them to forge new social relations. Unraveling anorexia's complex relationships and contradictions, Warin constructs a new theoretical perspective rooted in a socio-cultural context of bodies and gender. Abject Relations departs from conventional psychotherapy approaches and offers a different "logic," one that involves the shifting forces of power, disgust, and desire. It provides new ways of thinking that may have implications for future treatment regimes. Megan Warin is a social anthropologist in the Discipline of Gender, Work, and Social Inquiry at the University of Adelaide.
She has previously worked across anthropology, psychiatry, and public health at various institutions, including Durham University, the University of Adelaide, and Flinders University of South Australia. Praise for Abject Relations: "Warin has taken the topic of anorexia, which many of us feel that we know something about, and brilliantly cast a whole new light on it. Through vivid ethnography and evocative prose, she ensures that you won't think about anorexia or those affected by it in quite the same way ever again."-C. H. Browner, UCLA School of Medicine "Anthropologist Megan Warin combines rich multisited ethnographic research on anorexic women's lived experiences with a sophisticated theoretical approach based on concepts of abjection and relatedness to offer fascinating and original insights into anorexia nervosa."-Carole M. Counihan, author of The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning, and Power
Publisher: Rutgers University Press