Chronic Fatigue: An Ethnography: Exploring the Social by Stuart Hardman

By Stuart Hardman

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Additional info for Chronic Fatigue: An Ethnography: Exploring the Social Philosophy of Disease and Healing

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The effects of normative control on the body are ones of armoring, where vulnerability and openness become dangers that need to be closed off behind layers of defensiveness‖ (Ibid). The quest for healing here is integrally linked to this so called 'life politics' and the NeoShamanic quest is part of a journey towards connecting with the body, self, community, environment and ultimately the transcendent (or God). Furthermore Good (1994) in discussing the saliency of lifeworlds has opened a path for understanding that lifeworlds are actively constructed through ‗lived experience‘ and belief.

In this tension, then, no synthesis is ever complete (Ibid). The term ―heteroglossia‖, introduced by the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin and his analysis of the dialogical quality of texts and their interpretation, serves to highlight that ―illness is not only constituted in the ―wandering viewpoint‖ of the individual – the sufferer, a family member, a care provider (Ibid). It is also multiply constituted in ways that are often conflicting (Ibid). Thus, while core symbols in a medical lexicon may indeed condense or hold in tension a powerful 53 network of meanings, the process of synthesis is not only semiotic, but social, dialogical, imaginative and political.

Lived experience to an underlying coherence, a story line, a meaning‖ (Ibid). These stories, as Paul Ricoeur (1981a: 278) says, ―extract a configuration from a succession‖ and the story line has a quality of ―'directness,' a teleology, a sense that the story is going somewhere (Ibid). The narratives are aimed not only at ―describing the origins of suffering, but at imagining its location and source and imagining a solution to the predicament‖ (Ibid: 121). However, when the healing of the two narratives fails to materialize neither narrative (the psyche or the soma) gains authority ―and the self is threatened with dissolution‖ (Ibid).

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