Breathing in life: somatic empathy, attunement and the sharing of asthma ‘troubles'

Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn, Owton, Helen, Crust, Lee and Evans, Adam (2017) Breathing in life: somatic empathy, attunement and the sharing of asthma ‘troubles'. In: British Sociological Association Annual Conference, 4-6 April 2017, Manchester University.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


This paper, based on a qualitative research project in the UK, explores the ‘personal troubles’ encountered in the lived experience of asthma, drawing on an approach currently under-utilised in studies of asthma: vignettes. These were used as an elicitation technique in in-depth research with 19 frequent exercisers and sports participants with asthma. We describe and evaluate this approach as deployed in relation to a sociological and phenomenological study of the lived experience of asthma, and consider how employing vignette-based research can encourage people with asthma to reflect critically on their experiences and ways of being-in-the-world. This was found to be a powerful way of challenging taken-for-granted assumptions, and stimulating consideration of behaviour change. The findings we report here cohere around some of the principal themes that emerged from our data, including: asthma as ‘dys-ease’ in Leder’s (1990) terms, and feelings of being ‘out of control’; bodily attunement and learning corporeal control; somatic empathy, and the power of sharing stories and opening up dialogues (Allen-Collinson et al., 2016). Understanding the complexity of asthma experiences can be of sociological interest, we argue, as well as of great practical value both to those with asthma and also to healthcare and exercise professionals in tailoring more effective treatments.

Keywords:Sociology, Embodiment, Asthma, Sociological phenomenology, Phenomenology, Attunement, Senses, Vignettes, Sport, Exercise
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:26929
Deposited On:07 Apr 2017 11:04

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