The Eating Disorder Recovery Assemblage: Collectively Generating Possibilities for Eating Disorder Recovery
In this paper, we explore the affective-discursive-material aspects of the supportive eating disorder recovery assemblage. We approach recovery as an “assemblage” to facilitate an understanding of how human (people, systems of care, etc.) and nonhuman (affect, discourses, etc.) forces generate possibilities or impossibilities for recovery. Moving away from framings of recovery as an individual achievement, we consider the relationality and dynamism of eating disorder recovery in interviews with 20 people in recovery and 14 supporters of people in recovery. We draw from experiential accounts to theorize a supportive eating disorder recovery assemblage in relation to trust and love mobilized in interactions and relationships. This supportive eating disorder recovery assemblage can scaffold new understandings of recoveries as multiple and co-produced. Supportive eating disorder recovery assemblages generate improvisational spaces, albeit loosely contained and bounded, for different pathways to and manifestations of “recoveries”. This work builds on a body of feminist scholarship on eating disorders/disorder eating that takes up gendered relationships of power in treatment settings, extending toward and analysing material, affective, embodied, and potentially affirming dimensions of care and emotion in participants’ lives.