<i>Victims or Persecutors? The Moral Logic at the Heart of Eating Disorders</i>

Simona Giordano

in Understanding Eating Disorders

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780199269747
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603129 | DOI:

Series: Issues in Biomedical Ethics

 Victims or Persecutors? The Moral Logic at the Heart of Eating Disorders

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This chapter offers a critical analysis of family studies of eating disorders. These studies leave important questions unanswered: why do people suffer when significant others have inappropriate expectations of them? And if it is true that people use eating disorders to gain control over the family environment, what leads them to believe that eating behaviour may be an instrument of power? This chapter answers these questions. It shows that what explains eating disorders is not inappropriate expectations, but a moral logic, a way of thinking of interpersonal relations in moral terms. The power of suffering is rooted in culture. It was in ancient times expressed in the macabre tale according to which God, in order to redeem humanity, kills His only Son Jesus Christ. In contemporary culture, one example of the power of suffering and martyrdom of the body is hunger strike. Another example is eating disorders.

Keywords: eating disorders; power; inappropriate expectations; victims; persecutors; moral logic; hunger strike

Chapter.  2833 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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