Muriel Darmon : corporal variations. anorexia through the prism of sociologies of the body

By adopting the particular view offered by the sociology of the body, this article places anorexic attitudes and behaviors back into the social space of the body’s uses and representations. The study of « corporal variations » (according to periods of history, social classes, age groups and gender) allows us to see, behind the anorexic body, a corporal model situated historically and socially, one which is at once contemporary, female, and of middle or upper class origin. In addition, the process of corporal transformation that is in play throughout an anorexic career echoes contemporary representations of corporal malleability. It especially manifests two figures which are, however, opposites : that of a « soft » body, perceived as fluid and able to be modified at will, and that of a « hard » body, which tends to « persevere in its being », and resists all injunction to change.