Paula Saukko (ed.): The Anorexic Self: A Personal, Political Analysis of a Diagnostic Discourse

State University of New York Press, Albany, 2008, 134 pp
  • Rebecca Lester
Book Review

In The Anorexic Self: A Personal, Political Analysis of a Diagnostic Discourse, Paula Saukko (a Lecturer in Sociology at Loughborough University) undertakes an interrogation of diagnostic discourses of anorexia from the 1970s to the present day. The aim of the work, in the author’s words, “is not to simply ‘denounce’ the diagnostic and popular notions of anorexia … [but to] explore the personal implications of discourses on eating disorders in terms of contradictory social voices or accents,” as well as the politics embedded in such discourses (pp. 2–3). She does this through the theoretical and methodological concepts of dialogic theory, which, she says, enables her to “work against the grain” of traditional understandings of anorexia as false consciousness, recasting it again as polyvocal and multilayered. She concludes that diagnostic and popular discourses on anorexia reify a time-oriented (developmental) moral vision of healthy female selfhood against which “the anorexic self” is...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWashington University in St. LouisSaint LouisUSA

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