Capturing the Research Journey: A Feminist Application of Bakhtin to Examine Eating Disorders and Child Sexual Abuse

  • Lisa HodgeEmail author
Reference work entry


Important links have been established between eating disorders and child sexual abuse. These medical and positive studies, however, have causally quantified the link, and analysis has remained within the parameters of individual psychology. Thus, women’s perspectives and experiences are ignored. In this chapter, I argue for a feminist application of Mikhail Bakhtin’s sociological linguistics when examining women’s experiences of eating disorders and child sexual abuse and the links between them. Bakhtin’s theoretical constructs – authoritative and internally persuasive discourse – can enable researchers to expose the seemingly objective truths that overshadow alternative discourses competing for expression. I also argue for the use of a layered account, a technique that enables me to incorporate artistic expression. This chapter begins with an overview of how Bakhtin’s theoretical constructs can promote a feminist paradigm for analyzing women’s understandings. Drawing from my research that examined the nature of the relationship between women’s experiences of child sexual abuse and eating disorders, I demonstrate how Bakhtin’s theoretical constructs can expose the hidden mechanisms of control found in these gender-based oppressive practices. I also illustrate how drawing and poetry, when used in qualitative research methodologies, can create space for interactional discovery and give voice to the unspeakable.


Bakhtin Sociological linguistics Feminist paradigm Women Eating disorder Child sexual abuse Drawing Poetry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Health and BiomedicineVictoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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