Le paradoxe anorexique: Quand le symptôme corporel s'adresse à l'autre

Translated title of the contribution: The anorexic paradox: When the corporeal symptom adresses itself to others

Dorothée Legrand, Carla Taramasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective here is to conceive the relationship to alterity at stake in anorexia. If the subject who eats is confronted with what it is not and upon which it depends (food), then anorexia implies the refusal to surrender to such alterity. Likewise, the anorexic would not assume the alterity of the other subject for whom or against whom the act of eating is organized. It is the hypothesis that we defend here. Method: It is by relying on Levinas' philosophy that anorexia is better understood as a problematic of alterity. Indeed, what Levinas reveals is that the other subject is not another 'myself' but an inassimilable 'other'. Confronted with clinical observations, this conception demonstrates its relevance for understanding the anorexic as a subject for whom inassimilable alterity is unbearable. Results: Either the other is assimilated as the one the anorexic is not but wants to become; or the other is rejected as a radical alterity which the anorexic cannot assume as such. In both cases, it is to others that the anorexia is addressed; inviting and rejecting them. Discussion: In the diversity of their manifestations, anorexics are animated by the same fight against a subjection of their subjectivity to the alterity of the other. Conclusion: Engaged in such intersubjective problematic, the anorexic manifests an alimentary communication by stripping food from its nutritional matter in order to make of it an element of language; doing so, the anorexic materializes hunger in a body which is transformed to address it to others.

Translated title of the contributionThe anorexic paradox: When the corporeal symptom adresses itself to others
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalEvolution Psychiatrique
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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