Between Difference and Belonging: Configuring Self and Others in Inpatient Treatment for Eating DisordersReport as inadecuate




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Dedicated inpatient care for eating disorders has profound impact on patients- embodied practices and lived realities. Analyses of inpatients- accounts have shown that participants endorse complex and conflicting attitudes toward their experiences in eating disorders wards, yet the apparent ambivalence that characterizes inpatient experiences has not been subject to critical examination. This paper examines the narrated experiences of 13 participants 12 women and one man; age 18–38 years at first interview with past or present anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or eating disorder not otherwise specified, who had been hospitalized in an inpatient eating disorders ward for adults in central Israel. The interviews, which took place in 2005–2006, and again in 2011, were part of a larger longitudinal study exploring the subjective experiences of eating disorders and recovery among Israeli adults. Employing qualitative analysis, this study finds that the participants- accounts were concerned with dynamics of difference and belonging, as they played out in various aspects of inpatient care, including diagnosis, treatment, relationships with fellow patients and staff, and everyday life in hospital. Notably, participants simultaneously defined themselves as connected to, but also distinct from, the eating disordered others who formed their reference group at the ward. Through negotiating a protectively ambivalent positioning, participants recognized their eating disordered identities and connected with others on the ward, while also asserting their non-disordered individuality and distancing themselves from the potential dangers posed by ‘excessive’ belonging. The paper suggests that this ambivalent positioning can usefully be understood through the anthropological concept of liminality: being both a part of and apart from one-s community.



Author: Karin Eli

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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