Modeling a multiple, contradictory self : collective voices of (anorexic) identity from cyberspace.
As the primary text of the psychiatric establishment, the DSM-IV has been criticized for contributing to the stigmatization and marginalization of individuals with mental illness. The rapid rise of the internet as a communication tool has enabled previously marginalized and isolated sociocultural subgroups to create virtual communities where they can share their unique understandings and experiences of living with a mental illness. Individuals with eating disorders constitute one such subgroup who have created virtual spaces via pro-anorexia communities. Free of the discursive constraint present in their day to day lives, these dialogical spaces are at the same time anonymous and highly intimate; thus, the accounts contained within and across these communities are a beneficial source from which to investigate the meaning of anorexia from the patients’ perspective. Through a feminist, post-structuralist discourse analysis of (anorexic) narrative and the theory of the dialogical self, I suggest a model of collective voices of (anorexic) identity.