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Published in Gender & Society 7 (September 1993), pp. 473-475; doi: 10.1177/089124393007003014 Copyright © 1993 Sociologists for Women in Society. Published by Sage Publications. Used by permission.


The two books reviewed seek more than a medical or a psychological understanding of the recent increase in eating disorders. Clinical psychologist Richard Gordon (1990) titles his work Anorexia and Bulimia: The Anatomy of a Social Epidemic and uses anthropologist George Devereux’s eating disorder concept as his primary analytic tool. In Never Too Thin, Eva Szekely, also a clinical psychologist, conveys a different understanding of the concept of social, which does not separate it from the concept of individual. She understands the individual and social as coconstituting each other through social relations embedded in individuals’ bodies and shaped by individuals’ actions. Although Szekely’s work is chronologically prior to Gordon’s, her critical analysis of the social relations of the pursuit of the never-too-thin body extends beyond his.

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