Managing a marginalised identity in pro-anorexia and fat acceptance cybercommunities

Smith, Naomi, Wickes, Rebecca and Underwood, Mair (2015) Managing a marginalised identity in pro-anorexia and fat acceptance cybercommunities. Journal of Sociology, 51 4: 950-967. doi:10.1177/1440783313486220

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Author Smith, Naomi
Wickes, Rebecca
Underwood, Mair
Title Managing a marginalised identity in pro-anorexia and fat acceptance cybercommunities
Journal name Journal of Sociology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1440-7833
Publication date 2015-12-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1440783313486220
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 51
Issue 4
Start page 950
End page 967
Total pages 18
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This study examines how members of pro-anorexia (PA) and fat acceptance (FA) cybercommunities manage their ascribed ‘offline’ socially marginalised identity in an ‘online’ environment. While much of the sociological literature continues to focus on the corporeal or face-to-face practices of socially marginalised groups, we use online non-participant observation to explore how members of these sites use the internet to manage their marginalised identities. We find that cybercommunities provide a safe place for identity management where members come together to understand, negotiate and, at times, reject the marginalised identity ascribed to them in their offline environment. From the accounts of the PA and FA members we studied, we find that online and offline identities are mutually reinforcing and collectively inform and shape identity. However, the online environment provides an anonymised space for identity work, emotional support and an acceptance of their body, whatever their shape or size.
Keyword Cybercommunities
Fat acceptance
Identity management
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print June 6, 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Jan 2014, 19:24:25 EST by Dr Rebecca Wickes on behalf of School of Social Science