The Social Construction of Anorexia Nervosa


Julie Hepworth

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Inquiries in Social Construction

    Series editors

    Kenneth J. Gergen and John Shotter

    Inquiries in Social Construction is designed to facilitate across disciplinary and national boundaries, a revolutionary dialogue within the social sciences and humanities. Central to this dialogue is the idea that all presumptions of the real and the good are constructed within relations among people. This dialogue gives voice to a new range of topics, including the social construction of the person, rhetoric and narrative in the construction of reality, the role of power in making meanings, postmodernist culture and thought, discursive practices, the social constitution of the mental, dialogic process, reflexivity in theory and method, and many more. The series explores the problems and prospects generated by this new relational consciousness, and its implications for science and social life.

    Also in this series

    Constructing the Social

    edited by Theodore R. Sarbin and John I. Kitsuse

    Conversational Realities

    John Shotter


    edited by H. Lorraine Radtke and Henderikus J. Stam

    After Postmodernism

    edited by Herbert W. Simons and Michael Billig

    The Social Self

    edited by David Bakhurst and Christine Sypnowich

    Re-imagining Therapy

    Eero Riikonen and Gregory Smith

    Social Constructionism, Discourse and Realism

    edited by Ian Parker


    View Copyright Page


    For Lawrence and Naomi, with Love


    In writing the acknowledgements I finally get to thank everyone who has given me so much support from the beginning of my research and writing. I thank especially Christine Griffin who has inspired and supported me throughout, and to whom I owe so much personally and intellectually. I thank the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham, UK, for providing me with such an enjoyable and challenging academic environment in which I developed the ideas that underpin this book. I am grateful to the librarians at the University of Birmingham, and particularly the archivists for their assistance with retrieving historical medical documents from the Medical School Library and the British Museum.

    I thank Ziyad Marar, who commissioned the book, Naomi Meredith and Lucy Robinson at Sage for their editorial advice. In particular I gratefully acknowledge the support and intellectual contribution of Kenneth J. Gergen in the development of the book. More recently, thanks to Sue Widdicombe for comments.

    Numerous friends, family members and colleagues provided me with continuous support and enthusiasm for the research and writing of the book. I thank all of you for that. I am especially grateful to Gary J. Krug, my partner, for many discussions, for his intellectual contributions, and the space to write when there was always so much else to do. I also thank Peter Hepworth, my grandmother, Alice, and Madeleine Murtagh for their support. Special thanks to Lawrence and Naomi who provide me with inspiration always, and have supported my writing this book in any way they could.

    I am grateful to the United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council who provided funding support during the initial stages of the research. More importantly, I thank Anthony Worsley and acknowledge the institutional support of the University of Adelaide while writing the manuscript. Thanks to Anthea Page for assisting with the initial manuscript layout.

    I would also like to thank the interview participants, the health care workers, who despite having many clinical demands on their time also found the time to talk at length with me.

    Chapter 2 has been published previously as ‘The discovery of anorexia nervosa: discourses of the late 19th century’, in Text, 10 (4), pp. 321–38 (1990). I gratefully acknowledge Christine Griffin, who co-authored this paper with me, for allowing the use of this work in the book. The work is printed with permission of Mouton de Gruyter, a Division of Walter de Gruyter GmH & Co.

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