Selvledelse i kropsligt udtryk: Det selvdisciplinerede subjekt

Signe Ƙgaard Markussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines the link between self-management and the pathology of people with an eating disorder, in particular anorexia. Choosing eating disorders as a focal point is based on the argument that this phenomenon is the most sensitive barometer of cultural and social changes. Evidence suggests that the large number of people with an eating disorder is related to changes in society, changes, which entail the expectation of self-management, including selfactualization, the expansion of contemporary capitalism and the neoliberal overtake. Experts state that terms of identity today have changed into an individual self-education project with a constant focus on authenticity, optimization, examination and performance. Self-actualization and self-management are passwords characterizing postmodern lifestyles, a kind of ideology that has made civil obedience into a question about self-control and self-discipline. And just self-control and self-discipline characterize the anorectic lifestyle as a form of self-technology, reflected in a masked power relation. The thesis discusses authority loss, breakdown of traditions, boundlessness, demands and expectations to the individual, the illusion of freedom and the increase of competition and choices. The extended personal accountability combined with the feeling of powerlessness encourages an inner justification, an attempt at self-discovery, which is being executed via various confessional practices, as a way to manage oneself, excel and perform. Confession is associated with one; the requirement of self-management, selfcontrol and self-discipline, and two; a method in which subjectivity and truth are produced in the modern West, although it does not consist of an objective truth. Self-management is portrayed as a means to feel better, to decrease the feeling of guilt and shame, and to obtain control. The anorexic tries to comply with the capitalistic and neoliberal increase of demands and expectations, though in a distorted and extreme manner. She has lost the ability to orientate herself, and thus, according to the French philosopher Dany-Robert Dufour, replaced the former subjects (Kant's critical subject and Freud's neurotic personality) with a new pliant and shameful subject with psychotic tendencies. Without any grand narratives to guide her, she assumes full responsibility, and thus feels obligated to perform, excel and be truly unique. Self-management is the cornerstone of the anorectic practice.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages78