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Research Article Open Access
Anorexia nervosa has been a matter of concern in the Western society for decades. Sometimes people talk about anorexia as a deeply perplexing illness and health experts acknowledge that it is a disorder of a very difficult treatment. Although, in addition to the biological and psychological dimension, people also speak about social factors as possible explanations of the disorder, the fact is that social explanations are generally treated in a very superficial manner. The main thesis of this article is that we can hardly achieve a good understanding of anorexia nervosa without soundly taking into consideration its social and cultural foundations. They are precisely the ones that make many of those who suffer from it understand the eating disorder not as a disease but also as a lifestyle. Thus, it can be of interest to put into contrast that conventional perspective, which conceptualizes anorexia as a disease, as an irrational behavior understood within the old mind/body dichotomy and centered on the individual patient with a view more focused on the social and cultural dimensions. According to this alternative view, we can understand anorexia as a lifestyle (anemia), as a rational (although harmful) behavior that involves a constant and dialectic interplay between Körper/Leib and that grants agency to an anorectic person within a complex framework of social relations and its own semiotic community. Not denying the psychological traits, which often accompany many anorectics and reinforce their life choice such as obsessive (perhaps we could even say passionate!?) behavior or difficulties in emotional expression, this alternative view of anorexia can contribute to better understanding of this kind of eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa, Eating disorders, Body, Lifestyle, Anthropology., Anthropology, Archaeology, Demography, Economics, Geography, International Relations, Law, Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, Science Education, Sociology, Humanities, Integrative social science, Rural science, Social psychology, Social work, Media studies, Social Medicine