Subversive, paradoxical, powerful: the eating disordered body online

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Social Science, Health and Medicine


Katya's research builds on previous research into the eating disordered body online. Looking to understand eating disordered communities, including those termed 'pro-anorexic', her research will employ anthropological methods to explore, map and explain the dynamics of these groups and online platforms. More widely, she'll explore how women's bodies are regulated and censored online, and how the existence of the internet, as a place for eating disorders to be expressed and experienced, may affect the way an eating disorder is experienced offline.
This new research will also develop a model previously constructed by the researcher to explain the 'pro-ana paradox'. The model has served to illustrate the contradictions represented by both prior research and members of the eating disordered communities: the enforced but flawed biomedical model, subverted yet revered by community members; the conflation of weight and wellness; female empowerment through reclaiming the body, if only to destroy it; and the embodiment of anorexia in a disembodied (online) space.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2122833 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2018 30/08/2022 Katya Baker