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November 2022

The body as a selfing device - The case of anorexia nervosa

Author(s): Voestermans, P.

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 1996; 6: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Sage Publications Inc. 693-713.

Abstract: Psychology's conceptualization of anorexia nervosa illustrates how the discipline deals with the body. On the one hand, there is an emphasis on the body as a physiological apparatus. On the other hand, specific approaches such as social constructionism stress the nonphysiological body as something to which certain discursive meanings get attached. We propose to view the body as a producer of meaning in its own right, as a 'selfing device'. To this end we emphasize bodily communication as a continuous flow of co-regulated interaction. The body presents itself as the natural juncture of 'co-regulative skills'. The 'selfing process' involves multiple stylized bodily skills that testify to people's ability to take part in the life-world. Anorexia is seen as a disturbance of those skills.

Note: Article C Baerveldt, Univ Nijmegen, Nijmegen Cultural Psychol Grp, Dept Cultural Psychol, POB 9104, NL-6500 He Nijmegen, Netherlands

Keyword(s): anorexia nervosa; bodily skills; co-regulation; embodiment; social constructionism; CULTURAL EXPECTATIONS; THINNESS; BULIMIA; WOMEN

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