In this study, we explored how eating and identities of individuals diagnosed with eating disorders are constructed on a popular television talk show, Dr. Phil. Informed by conversation analytic and discursive psychological research traditions, we show how Dr. Phil, jointly with guests, constitutes guests as mentally ill and accountable for their illness. Specifically, we highlight Dr. Phil’s unilateral pursuit of a solution to the “puzzle” of the eating disorder, including its origins and meanings, as he enlists the guests’ endorsement of his versions of their situations and experiences. We examine broader implications of such a framing for societal understandings of the subjectivity of individuals diagnosed with eating disorders.


Eating Disorders, Mental Illness, Conversation Analysis, Discursive Psychology, Mass Media, Talk Television

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




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