Dr. Sigal Gooldin



Dr. Sigal Gooldin
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Prof. Tamar El-Or
Sociology and Anthropology
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Last update: 16-Nov-2010

Intellectual Biography

My main research interests are in the intersections between the sociology and anthropology of medicine, sociology and anthropology of the body, sociology and anthropology knowledge (with a particular focus on technologies), and feminist theory. Empirically, my work in the past few years has evolved around three main areas: (1) the study of anorexia nervosa (2) the study of hunger in affluent societies (3) the cultural politics of the new reproductive technologies in Israel. Methodologically my research incorporates several qualitative strategies; participant observations, in-depth interviews, focus groups, discourse analysis and content analysis.

Project I: A socio-anthropological study of anorexia and the anorexic body.
This follows my PhD study and draws on archival and ethnographic data. This study examines the social and cultural forces at work in the objectification, production, and consumption of anorexia. It focuses on macro and micro level interactions between three social agents; health experts, feminist psychotherapists, and young women diagnosed with anorexia. The papers published, under review, and in progress from this project address the cultural history of the slim body spectacle, the phenomenology of hunger, glocal issues at work in production and consumption of anorexia, the emergence of anorexia as a 'social problem' in experts' discourses, the 'patho-normal' construction of anorexia as marked by the newly emerging 'pro-ana' movement that supports anorexia as a legitimate 'life-style' choice, and the religious-secular phenomenon of anorexia among Jewish ultra-orthodox young men.

Project II: A cultural Analysis of hunger in Affluent Societies
This project is summed in two books, the first is forthcoming in Van Leer/Hakibutz Hemeuchad (Hunger in An Affluent Society: An Essay on Body, Politics and Aesthetics), the second is work in progress for an international academic press (Hungry Bodies/Moral Scripts: Explorations into the Historical, Phenomenological and Performative). The point of departure for this project is that contemporary affluent societies mark a critical departure point in the social history of hunger. While for thousands of years hunger has been inseparable from the everyday human experience, for many, the emergence of affluent societies post WWII transformed this experience into a memory of past times. At the same time, both voluntaristic and non-voluntaristic hunger is still very much a part of the everyday world of contemporary citizens in these societies. The study addresses different phenomena of hunger (e.g., spectacles of hunger in urban spaces, eating disorders, NGOs dealing with the 'hungry poor', representations of aesthetic hunger in popular media, collective and private memories of hunger) and examines the social processes and cultural forces involved in the meaning-making of hunger in contemporary affluent societies.

Project III: The cultural politics of NRT in Israel
This study is a socio-cultural exploration into the politics of the New Reproductive Technologies (NRT) in Israel. I am particularly concerned with the 'un-expected' consequences of NRT in terms of the moral communities and commitments that assembles through and around them. My analysis is based within the interdisciplinary field of the social study of science and technology. It explores the interaction between four Israeli spheres of NRT; regulation, consumption, media, and therapy. In the frame of this project I have recently won a grant of approx. 100,000 NIS to further extend my study on fertility experts and the cultural politics of publicly funding fertility treatments. This will enable me gather new data commencing November 2010.