A brief meditation on the notion of mediation: Techniques of the Self and Material Relationism in ‘speaking’ of Anorexia[1]

Florentino Blanco and Tomás Sánchez-Criado
Departamento de Psicología Básica
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

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The aim of this paper is to discuss on the ‘public’ and ‘plural’ dimension of the self. The starting point of our argument is a very simple study of anorexic life stories. Originally the stories were recalled from an Internet community of ‘people suffering from anorexia’. In brief, the narrative structure of the stories was analysed in order to find communalities and variations. Our results showed that stories were virtually interchangeable, its structure and content being almost identical. They were, so to speak, public artefacts for identification and, perhaps more important, for leading with and making sense of ‘pain’ and ‘suffering’. On this ground, our work puts forward for consideration some ideas on (1) ‘the self’ as a relational enterprise, (2) the socio-technical regulation of ‘private experience’, (3) the supposed boundaries between subjective and objective spheres and (4) the genealogy of the experience of ‘pain’ and ‘suffering’ as it is ‘experienced’ in our Western cultures. Above all, we will try to consider the huge range of mediators (human and non-human) that are deployed to stabilise a particular notion of the self. In this vein, and departing from the premise that language cannot be considered the one and only relational regulator, we will try to take into account the consequences on the concept of mediation that might arise from our previous study.

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