Famished: Eating Disorders and Failed Care in America

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Univ of California Press, Nov 19, 2019 - Social Science - 416 pages
When Rebecca Lester was eleven years old—and again when she was eighteen—she almost died from anorexia nervosa. Now both a tenured professor in anthropology and a licensed†social worker, she turns her†ethnographic†and†clinical†gaze to the world of eating disorders—their history, diagnosis, lived realities, treatment, and place in the American cultural imagination.

Famished, the culmination of over two decades of anthropological and†clinical†work, as well as a lifetime of lived experience, presents a profound rethinking of eating disorders and how to treat them. Through a mix of†rich cultural†analysis, detailed†therapeutic†accounts, and raw autobiographical reflections, Famished†helps make sense of why people develop eating disorders, what the process of recovery is like, and why treatments so often fail. It’s also an unsparing condemnation of the tension between profit and care in American healthcare, demonstrating how a system set up to treat a disease may, in fact, perpetuate it. Fierce and vulnerable, critical and hopeful,†Famished†will forever change the way you understand eating disorders and the people who suffer with them.


 

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Contents

Introduction
3
For the Ladies
85
Cedar Groves
110
Chronicity Recovery and Trajectories
143
Recalibrating
215
SECTION FOUR RECURSIONS
275
Precarity Vulnerability
305
Where Do We Go from Here?
322
Acknowledgments
337
Works Cited
357
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Rebecca J. Lester†is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and a licensed clinical social worker.†She is the author of numerous academic articles and the award-winning book†Jesus in Our Wombs.

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