The absence of qualitative analysis in mainstream research on eating disorders is discussed in the following article as being a weakness in developing theory and clinical practice. This article includes an analysis of interviews with British healthcare workers who manage anorexic patients. This analysis presents an example of qualitative methodology in the form of discourse analysis, which is argued to provide a systematic, yet flexible approach to research on eating disorders. The overwhelming prevalence of anorexia nervosa in women is specifically examined within the context of the identification of the "discourse of femininity. " The research findings are discussed in relation to the use of discursive practices that contribute to the maintenance and reproduction of clinical processes and their relative efficacy
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