It is well known that body image has been associated to health risks related to eating habits. However, to what extent do identity categories, everyday social interaction and common discourses affect our preoccupations and sufferings related to body image in contemporary society, and our coordinated ways of confronting them?
In Body Image as an Everyday Problematic, Diaz seeks to offer a comprehensive perspective on body image as an everyday problematic, grounded on verbal accounts of biographic experience. The main body of the book unfolds through five analyses: (1) a framework for how persons are categorized on the grounds of their beauty, weight, or physical appeal; with reference to heterosexual and friendship relations; (2) how men position themselves with respect to culturally provided images of beautiful women in relation to their heterosexual partners; (3) biographic processes through which people locate problems with the body, confront them and interpret them after some time; (4) the role of mothers in providing help across different kinds of problems; and (5) the experiences and contradictions of caring for relatives or partners who suffer for their body image. Indeed, these five analytical threads together compose a structured and rich understanding of the meaningful social order that lies at the core of our everyday preoccupations with the body.
Challenging conventional psychological theories of body image, this enlightening volume will appeal to postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers interested in fields such as Gender Studies, Clinical Psychology and Sociology.
The topic of body image and eating disorders is of wide interest to researchers, students and practitioners in a variety of health, clinical and social science fields. The strongest aspect of the book for me is the way that a variety of qualitative research approaches and methodologies are applied to one particular data set. This in-depth approach permits students and researchers interested in this topic to consider a known topic in a new light.
Janet Smithson, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Exeter, UK
Body Image as an Everyday Problematic’ offers a timely and fascinating contribution to our understandings of body image. Felix Diaz Martinez takes a critical, culturally situated perspective, using a novel range of social science methodologies to intervene in a range of debates in this field, providing really valuable and thought provoking insights.
Helen Malson, Associate Professor of Social Psychology, UK
2. Methodological foundations
3. The social organization of body image: categories and relations
4. Men’s images of women’s bodies: from shared conventions to personal intimacy
5. In narrative: changing bodies through life
6. Helping mothers
7. Dilemmas of support: the caregiver’s perspective
Appendix I: Transcription conventions