1st Edition

Understanding Contemporary Diet Culture through the Lens of Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory Eating the Lack

By Bethany Morris Copyright 2024

    This book offers a close analysis of the relationship between diets and identity in modern Western culture through the examination of popular texts including blogs, diet books, and websites.

    The relationship between consumerism and identity has been explored by scholars for decades now, but less has been said about how food and eating behaviors have been wrapped up in this relationship. Using Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, chapters investigate how diets and eating are used as a means to navigate individuals’ complex, unconscious desires and conflicts, and illustrate how diet and advertising industries use this to capitalize on the anxieties of the modern subject. The text’s psychoanalytic approach offers rare insight into the unconscious desires that dictate individuals’ choices around diets and lifestyle. By situating anxiety as the tension between jouissance and desire, the book promotes further understanding of individuals’ subjective and complex relationships with food.

    Through an understanding of the subject and symptoms from a psychoanalytic perspective, we can begin to think differently about the ways we come to eating and dieting. This book will be useful for scholars and postgraduate students studying Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, consumer psychology, mental health, the sociology of culture, and social and cultural anthropology.

    Chapter 1 – Eating the Lack

    Chapter 2 – Family Meals

    Chapter 3 – Comfort Food

    Chapter 4 – Diets as a Symptom

    Chapter 5 – Jouissance Is in The Carbs

    Chapter 6 – Disordered Eating

    Chapter 7 – Circumventing the Real: Detoxes And Cleanses

    Chapter 8 – A Diet of Lack


    Bethany Morris is a professor at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

    “What you put in your mouth, how you put it in your mouth, and indeed what you do not put in your mouth, informs us of the individual’s struggle to situate him or herself within a particular social and cultural context. Bethany Morris’ book offers readers a truly unique vantage point into American dieting behaviours from a Lacanian perspective. The Lacanian perspective is absolutely essential for understanding contemporary American diet culture today. This is a valuable resource and will leave all readers with more than enough to chew on.”

    Duane Rousselle, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Nipissing University, Canada