9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN11 Sociology of Emotions

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Emotions, Media and Spaces: Physical Simbolic, Online Building II, C6.06

Emotion Sickness. Pro-Ana Virtual Communities

This paper focuses on virtual communities of anorexic girls and boys: their blogs, their forums and chat rooms create a virtual space in which they exchange their experiences with eating disorders and often encourage themselves not to give up on their eating disorder - which they view as a life style rather than an illness. This paper analyses the discourse on anorexia created, re-created and shared in and by these virtual communities. Special attention is paid to the emotions that are attached to their commitment to anorexia, which they personify and name Ana, and to the virtual community. The thesis presented here is that the emotions that lead people to develop this eating disorder, and to "choose" it as a lifestyle as well as to virtually engage in dignifying it as such, are deeply and intrinsically connected with the core characteristics of late modern capitalist societies. They cannot be understood from an individualistic perspective, as mental illnesses, but through a perspective from the sociology of emotions in close relation with a sociology of late (or post)modernity.