Abject Relations presents an alternative approach to anorexia, 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 provides 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 and provides new ways of thinking that may have implications for future treatment regimes.
MEGAN WARIN is a social anthropologist who has worked in psychiatry, gender studies, and public health at various institutions, including Durham University, the University of Adelaide, and Flinders University of South Australia.
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