chapter  2
12 Pages

DISCOURSE, FEMINISM, RESEARCH AND THE PRODUCTION OF TRUTH

In Chapter 1 I discussed psychoanalytic and post-structuralist theories and explored how these theories undermine our commonsense and mainstream psychological notions of gender, identity and embodiment. In providing a radically anti-essentialist account of subjectivity, gender and embodiment, I argued that a feminist post-structuralist perspective, informed by Lacanian theory, provides a useful and inspirational theoretical space within which to question critically the status of our current knowledges of ‘anorexia’ and in which we can re-examine the problem of ‘anorexia’ in its socio-historically specific and genderspecific discursive contexts. A feminist post-structuralist perspective, I have argued, enables us to transgress the individual-society dichotomy and to engage more thoroughly with a concept of ‘anorexia’ as a socio-culturally constituted phenomenon, manifested in individual women. It enables us to locate women’s and girls’ experiences and distress around food and eating and around gender, subjectivity and embodiment within those discourses that constitute and regulate our lives in late twentieth-century Western society. It also enables us to explore the gendered dimensions of these discourses, allowing us to engage with the socio-political dimensions of our own and/or others’ subjectivities. By unravelling some of those discourses that converge upon the female body and on the ‘anorexic’ body We can explore how the ‘micro-physics of power’ that functions in discourse operates upon the anorexic body.