Disordered Eating: Food and Identity Formation

Jeri Kroll, Jen Webb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Eating disorders have developed an international profile in Anglophone countries during the past 40 years. Confessional memoirs, feminist and psychosocial polemics, popular journalism, self-help books, poetry, and fiction have portrayed the emotional and physical effects on individuals, their families, and society of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. These books and magazines, websites, blogs, and chat rooms have become popular, and some researchers warn that, rather than dissuading readers from adopting destructive eating behaviours, these texts act as “thinspiration” (Parker-Pope 2009, 2; Curry and Ray 2010), or instruction manuals for obsessive and competitive dieting (Vandereycken and van Deth 1996, 1, 247; Gregory 2013). Nevertheless, anorexia and bulimia can be used as a plot device for creative writers, with the resulting work both generating empathy in readers and highlighting a significant health and social problem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Literature and Food
EditorsLorna Piatti-Farnell, Donna Lee Brien
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781351216029
ISBN (Print)9781138048430
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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