In a breath. A cultural analysis of asthma as limitation and possibility.
Though asthma is a commonly occurring disorder today, the development and introduction of anti-inflammatory drugs in treating it has changed the possibilities of living with it. At the same time, the Swedish guidelines for asthma care have changed: the patient is to take responsibility for her or his chronic illness to attain full quality of life. The study aims to make a cultural analytical investigation of what possibilities exist for young people to take responsibility for their chronic illness and what limitations present themselves. Its approach, proceeding from Simone de Beauvoir's concept of situation, problematises the view of the human being as an independent subject; rather, the human being finds herself in relation to other people and things. It does not appear from the empiric that the young people automatically internalise the diagnosis and the treatment that comes with it; instead, they act in relation to diagnosis as well as treatment. As a result, the treatment is not always being allowed to stand in the centre of conduct; the young people may be prepared to expose themselves to risks of breathing difficulties for the purpose of creating themselves as subject. The young people allso often act in relation to the attention that the drug and the sequence of events with medication generate in social contexts. This may become a situation in which the individuals do not want to show their medicinal object, or keep quiet about not feeling well due to the asthma. Beauvoir points out in her philosophy that we have a responsibility to create possibilities for the person who is limited in her or his daily life, and this can be discussed proceeding from the possibilities and limitations that are created in a situation. The ethical subject becomes central: through making visible the situation in which the person with a chronic illness finds her- or himself, the individual encountering that person can act in such a way that she or he gives the other person possibilities.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Treatment; 'Pharmaceutical companies'; Asthma; Diagnos; Risk; 'Eethical subject'; 'Simone de Beauvoir'; Inhalator; Drugs; Possibility; Chronic illness; Limitation; Humanities; Cultural anthropology; Humaniora; Body; Kulturantropologi; etnologi; 'Medical staff'; 'Technologies of the self'; ethnology
Date of Publication:01/01/2007