Touching moments: sociological phenomenology & the haptic in the lived experience of Motor Neurone Disease

Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and Pavey, Amanda (2015) Touching moments: sociological phenomenology & the haptic in the lived experience of Motor Neurone Disease. In: Phenomenology and Health: an Interdisciplinary Symposium, 27-28 March 2015, Oxford University, UK.

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Allen-Collinson & Pavey.2015.Sociological phenomenology.MND.haptic.Oxford University conference paper.pdf

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Abstract

Currently, there is a research lacuna with regard to phenomenological research into the lived-experience of motor neurone disease (MND), a terminal, neurodegenerative disease where the motor neurons in the cortex, brainstem and spinal cord gradually diminish in number until lost entirely. Based on a 3-year research project undertaken in the UK and in Australia involving 42 participants clinically diagnosed with MND, the aim of the study was to explore from a sociological-phenomenological perspective participants’ in-depth accounts of their own lived-body experiences of this disease. Calls have been made for sociological researchers to examine and analyse more fully and deeply the sensory dimension of the lived body, and this paper contributes to this newly developing corpus. As the social sciences in general have been accused of a high degree of ocularcentrism, in the paper we focus upon the haptic dimension, given that touch – and particularly the loss of key elements of the haptic – emerged as salient in our MND participants’ accounts. We focus on three specific haptic themes that participants identified as important in their changed mode of being-in-the-world: (i) being out of touch; (ii) the loss of dexterity of touch; and (iii) unwelcome touch by medical staff.

Keywords:Sociology, Sociological phenomenology, Phenomenology, Embodiment, The senses, Haptic, Touch, Motor Neurone Disease MND
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:16994
Deposited On:30 Mar 2015 21:01

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