ProAna Worlds: Affectivity and Echo Chambers Online

Topoi 41 (5):883-893 (2021)
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Abstract

Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder characterised by self-starvation. Accounts of AN typically frame the disorder in individualistic terms: e.g., genetic predisposition, perceptual disturbances of body size and shape, experiential bodily disturbances. Without disputing the role these factors may play in developing AN, we instead draw attention to the way disordered eating practices in AN are actively supported by others. Specifically, we consider how Pro-Anorexia (ProAna) websites—which provide support and solidarity, tips, motivational content, a sense of community, and understanding to individuals with AN—help drive and maintain AN practices. We use C. Thi Nguyen’s work on epistemic “echo chambers”, along with Maria Lugones’ work on “worlds” and “ease”, to explore the dynamics of these processes. Adopting this broader temporal and intersubjective perspective, we argue, not only helps to further illuminate the experiential character of AN but also has important clinical and therapeutic significance.

Author Profiles

Lucy Osler
Cardiff University
Joel Krueger
University of Exeter

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