Tag Archives: Health+Santé

The Pro-Ana Movement: Sanctuary & Subculture

Warning: I am about to make rather controversial use of anthropology to better contextualise Pro-Ana – otherwise short for ‘Promote-Anorexia’ – the movement that safeguards anorexia as a lifestyle. [And no, before questions arise, I do not suffer an eating disorder, nor am I pro-Ana – rather pro-listening].

Pro-Ana’s social and psychological online support for anorexia sufferers is clearly well-meant. But it still appears somewhat contradictory in light of the plethora of lifestyle tips on how to become dangerously thin which it also encourages online. Hence the general argument against Pro-Ana websites is that: not only do they provide a space for harmful collective narratives that otherwise prolong the condition in pre-existing sufferers, but that they also encourage its development in non-sufferers. According to contemporary western biomedicine, anorexia must strictly not be viewed as a lifestyle, but as a seriously deadly disorder that is infamously difficult to treat, with the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness. But which comes first – the biological aetiology of the disease, or the cultural norms also influencing its onset? Has anorexia always been perceived as a dangerous, medicalised psychopathology in ages past? And can it ever be viewed culturally rather than medically i.e. as a lifestyle providing alternative cultural narratives for coping with social pressure as well as illness in modern times? Continue reading

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Mediating the body through medical diagnosis in ancient China

+ + Sarah + + This figurine was used in ancient China to locate pain and convey messages between doctor and patient. It is on display at the University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, Cambridge, as part of the current … Continue reading

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Design médical : Un cœur artificiel

+ + Sarah + + Voilà à quoi ressemble un cœur artificiel. What an artificial heart looks like.

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