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The Political Economy of Bulimia Nervosa

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Bulimia Nervosa constitutes a major social problem. There have, however, been few, if any, attempts to understand the distinctive features of this disorder from within the social sciences. Rather, the increasing prevalence of all forms of eating disorders are understood as a product of how the concepts of ‘femininity’ and the ‘controlled body’ are constructed within contemporary society. Bulimia and anorexia are ultimately seen to have their roots in the same social phenomena. While recognising the insights that the existing literature offers, we argue that in order to fully understand the rise of bulimia we must focus on the food system. More precisely, we must examine how the commercialisation of food preparation has led to a partial breakdown in meal structures and the rise of ‘everyday’ bingeing. The rise of extreme forms of disordered consumption associated with bulimia can be related to broader changes in the eating regime.
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Keywords: eating disorders; food systems; gender

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Politics and International Studies,University of Warwick, CoventryCV4 7AL, United Kingdom

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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