`A readable book that contains simplified information of some complicated concepts. It will prove of benefit to those readers in the field of women and social studies' - European Eating Disorders Review The concepts presented in this book are carefully argued, succinctly organized, and genuinely stimulating.... It provokes clinicians to think about treatment and the effect of diagnostic practices, it provokes researchers to ask different questions, and it provokes students to read beyond dominant and conventional texts. This is a timely and important publication that deserves to feature prominently in the ongoing study of anorexia nervosa' - Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

From Religion to Madness: Religious and Medical Interpretations of Self-Starvation

From religion to madness: Religious and medical interpretations of self-starvation

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the interpretations of self-starvation prior to the medical discovery of anorexia nervosa in 1874. The dominant interpretations drew on religion, and with the phrase religious interpretation, I am confining the definition of religion to Western Christianity. These early interpretations are important because they provide very different explanations of the relationships between women and food, and demonstrate how interpretations of behaviours accord with the dominant ideas of particular historical periods. In order to elaborate on the religious interpretations of self-starvation I will discuss three key themes. The first theme discusses the religious interpretations of women during the twelfth and thirteenth ...

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