Hello! My name is Andrea LaMarre, and I like to procrasti-blog. I am a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph, in a little town you’ve probably never heard of (yes, it is also called Guelph- that’s pronounced as if the ph were an f).
I started writing for Science of Eating Disorders in the summer following the first year of my Masters program in Family Relations and Human Development in 2013. The blog has given me the chance to bring my research and personal experiences together to do what I love: sharing information about eating disorders (hopefully) in the service of better supporting those who have and have recovered from eating disorders and their loved ones.
My Masters research involved interviewing young women in eating disorder recovery about their experiences. I also conducted a digital storytelling workshop on the same theme with a subset of my participants. These participants created short (3-4 minute) films about their experiences, which I analyzed as a part of my research and which have been shown in educational, community, healthcare and research settings.
I began my Masters degree with the intention of only selectively revealing my relationship to my topic of study. A novice to the world of feminist research, I was unaware of the possibilities that emerge when you situate yourself in your research, reflecting on how your experiences colour your research interests and intersect with the positionality of your participants. As I progressed through my first year, I began to become more comfortable sharing my story with my peers, my professors, and really anyone who wondered or asked.
Rather than discrediting me, telling my story has almost without fail led to a deeper connection and more helpful conversations with mentors and peers. Studying eating disorders as an individual with lived experience is not without it’s difficulties, not least of which is trying to avoid using anecdotal evidence. However, I have found that my experiences provide a frame of reference and point of connection.
Rather than provide you with the gory details of my struggle, suffice to say that I do consider myself recovered, though I’d love to have an in-depth discussion about what that really means and why it is important to honour people’s own chosen labels for themselves and their ways of life.
In fact, thinking about recovery has become the major focus of my research. For my PhD, I will be conducting a similar study to my Masters, but expanding my sample to include families. Over the past few years of engaging in advocacy both on and offline, I’ve met many wonderful families (which I define broadly) supporting their loved ones through the often very frustrating process of seeking treatment and/or recovery. I am looking at how the concept of recovery lives at the intersection of people’s own definitions, those of their family members, and those of healthcare providers. The goal of all of this is to get a better understanding of what kinds of factors facilitate and constrain people’s ability to recover.
I take a critical feminist, body becoming, new materialist approach to my research. It could be called “post-post-structuralism,” and I could go into detail, but you may or may not be interested. Many of my posts here deal with the social context surrounding eating disorders and recovery, including many qualitative studies. I love how qualitative research lets us delve deep into people’s experiences and to hear their stories. I’m also very interested in which frames of reference people use to describe their experiences and how these fit with the broader social context of healthism and moralization of food and bodies.
In my free time I mostly do other research, Tweet, and check my email incessantly. Or, as I mentioned, I procrasti-blog. No one is perfect.