“Representations of Illness or Wounded Storytellers?” Research into male eating disorders is still considered to be in its infancy. Little is known about the way men engage in popular/mass media (in the broadest sense) when sharing their experiences of living with eating disorders. This project intends to take the sparse previous work about UK newspaper representations of eating-disordered men as a springboard to enhance our understanding of the ways men engage in telling their stories through various media. As an exploratory study, the research aim is to locate and investigate a broad range of media formats. This can be interpreted broadly, ranging from news interviews to self-produced YouTube content, from Twitter to Instagram – and everything in between. The completed research design will critically examine the nature, features and meanings of these stories.
Set against a backdrop of Critical Men’s Studies, these analyses will be used to gain greater understanding of eating disordered men’s use of media in order to improve knowledge of how men story themselves in public and what this could teach us about the male voice and its possible role in recovery strategies and practitioner training. A reflexive approach may be required as we-as-researchers consume and generate media and are subject to its imagery and power.
The ideal candidate will be someone with a passion for learning through research who identifies strongly with the possibilities and pitfalls of media and social-media. This doctoral project may be of interest to those who have previously undertaken gender, media or male mental health studies and who wishes to gain independent research grounding in health/social psychology. As this is a self-funded project, there is scope to hone and refine the proposed project to take account of individual strengths and interests within the topical parameters, for instance, the topic could be investigated using visual methodologies or linguistic analyses.