SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011
Body experiences and emotions
Location Block 2, Piso 1, Room 96
Date and Start Time 19 Apr, 2011 at 14:30
This panel will focus on the negotiation of meanings and emotions around personal and social challenges confronted by body transformations and predicaments.
This panel will focus on the negotiation of meanings and emotions around personal and social challenges confronted by body transformations and predicaments. The focus will be in healthcare situations, where institutional frameworks are confronted with personal expectations related to emotional and social well-being.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Emotions in emotional fields: how to use, interpret and analyze them in health care research
In this article I will attempt to find a theoretical niche appropriate for analyzing emotions in health care research, systematize my findings on emotional experience of illness and, lastly, discuss the input anthropologist’s own emotions have in doing fieldwork and publishing data.
Unitl1980s emotions were mostly neglected as objects of anthropological interest or were studied only in ritual situations when they were 'formal, public, ritualized and distanced' (Scheper-Hughes and Lock 1987). But it was Geertz who posed the question already in 1973 whether any display of emotions - public or private, individual or collective, suppressed or explosive - has ever been independent from cultural conditioning. The most extreme interpretation of Geertz's idea would be that without one's own culture one would not know what to feel. In 1977 Blacking claimed that emotions were catalysts which transform knowledge into human understanding and motivate human actions. The pioneers of theory of emotions in medical anthropology were Scheper-Hughes and Lock who saw emotions as the (missing) link between mind and body. Recent writings in medical anthropology deal with emotions linked to suffering, depression, death, pain and other human processes filled with emotions. Pain and suffering are by all means extreme or, to say the least, unordinary emotional states of individuals. The emotional experience of illness which stems from my research on patients' attitudes towards illness and suffering will be the focus of this article. I will attempt to find a theoretical niche appropriate for analyzing emotions in health care research, systematize my findings on emotional experience of illness and, lastly, discuss the input anthropologist's own emotions have in doing fieldwork and publishing data.
Embodied and situated ethical decision-making in family's consent request for organ donation
This presentation focuses on procurement and consent for organ donation. Looking at the interaction among health personnel and families, my aim is to show how decision-making process about ethics strongly depends on embodied and embedded choices rather than on a priori, abstract principles
Organ transplantation raises ethical and public dilemmas. This presentation focuses on the phase of procurement and consent. My aim is to investigate the interaction and communication among physicians, nurses and family, in particular how physicians and nurses address the family donor for consent to organ donation.
Moving away from a dualistic mind-body conception, this study aims to show how decision-making process strongly depends on embodied and embedded choices rather than on a priori, abstract and universal ethical principles. In other terms, once a relational approach to ethics has been endorsed, this presentation shows that the interaction among actors is bodily situated. Specifically, during the consent request, the interaction between the health personnel and the family is strongly affected by spatial and environmental conditions, as well as verbal and non-verbal communication. Also deserving attention is understanding how the construction of space has changed over the last few years in order to establish both effective and person-centred communications. Furthermore, this interaction is a typical case of negotiation as "invention", based on "judgement, learning and improvisation" (Massey 2005) and it deeply changes according to the following variables: the kind of death, the age of the dying person and the emotional reactions of the family.
In making this argument, I draw on the literature about organs' procurement and on my ongoing ethnographic research at the "San Giuseppe" hospital in Empoli in collaboration with the local Committee for Donation of Organs, Tissues and Cells.
"But you look so good": negotiations of otherness
Persons in pain, suffering from Fibromyalgia, experience negotiations of displacement and otherness in relation to their transgressing of boundaries between accepted images of "sick" and "healthy". Hence, they challenge the dualistic perception of body/mind and call for other ethical concerns.
Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a chronic suffering of pain in muscles and bones and other disorders in the body. It cannot be diagnosed by means of objective measurements and observations on the body; the diagnosis is determined on the basis of subjective experiences of bodily pain and disorder, indicated by the patient. The Cartesian dualism between body and mind is still dominating in medical and generic understandings of healthiness and disease, and the biological citizenship, proved by instrumental measures of biological facts (Rose and Novas, 2004) creates further insistence that measurable evidence for certain medical determinants is clear. This means that medical categories of diagnoses are tightened, boundaries are enforced, and FMS constitutes a contested place, because vague and blurry ailments are difficult to grasp in medical discourse.
FMS sufferers experience embodied pain out of place, both when in contact with the medical system, and in general, because their bodies in pain and disorder prevent them from participating in social life on expected conditions; they transgress the established boundaries between "sick" and "healthy". Their situation is negotiated regarding degrees of otherness according to un/accepted ailments and ill behavior. These persons feel pain, and their desire is to enter a pathological position of otherness, resulting in an acceptance of their embodied pain. However, this desired place of otherness is contested, i.e. because of their bodily, visual performance, and hence, due to the Cartesian dualism between body and mind, their position of otherness is at times displaced and understood as a psychological disorder.
"Nobody leaves having a bad feeling!" Hairdressers' feelings as working instrument, resource and emotional capital
Nowadays, hairdressers are emotional workers by shaping places, whose constructions reflect themselves on the ways of feeling a specific work and service atmosphere. Emotions become a resource of the own work style, a basis of their creativity, a capital to differ from others and a source of dealing the job-related requirements.
In postmodern times, as uncertainty constitutes the only certainty and emotions gain more social importance and public awareness, western societies are entitled as customer-orientated. In this context, wellness turned into a keyword and hairdressers are no longer old-fashioned barbers but emotional workers. The cultural activity of wearing hair, understood as a sense-generating process, means occasionally "Become who you are" in the individualised mass.
Identifying what kind of self-concepts and intimate client request sit hourly in front of the hairdressers mirror image, empathy, the capability of (non-)verbal communication and the management of emotion are important job-related requirements. Between well-known patrons and foreign new customers, feelings become working instruments, and emerge as a (re-)source of the personal work-style.
Likewise emotions are conceived as a basis of the hairdressers' creativity and therewith as a capital, to differ within the business competition. Moreover they serve for handling the workload and doing identity-work. Between expression and suppression, emotionality and rationality, the credo "Nobody leaves having a bad feeling" requires double emotional work - both on the customer level and the private level - which leads to a certain body management, gesture and face expression. In the interaction of the salon, emotions are shaped, as a cultural practice, in order to create and perform a salon specific ambiance, so that the clients feel welcome and taken care of. The created place affects both sides, as the constructions of the salon reflect themselves on the ways of feeling a specific work and service atmosphere.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.