Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are among the few psychiatric
syndromes with a plausible socio-cultural model of causation.
Issues of culture and slimness are usually considered in terms of
the experience of the western world, but there is a growing body of
research suggesting that concern with slimness is becoming more
prevalent in non-western cultures.
In Culture and Weight Consciousness, Mervat Nasser brings together
this research and looks at the recent emergence of eating disorders
in cultures that were previously free of such problems. She relates
the feminist theories that have been put forward to explain the
phenomenon of eating disorders in the west to the condition of
modern women in many non-western cultures and concludes that their
position is not at all that different from that of their western
counterparts. This leads her to address the current limitations of
the concept of culture and draw out the implications for future
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