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The lived body - a historical phenomenon

Eline Thornquist, Anna Luise Kirkengen


Drawing on an authentic sickness history the present paper provides arguments for epistemological and ontological shifts in current clinical practice. The kind of sickness accounted for, impairing the health of a person to the extent of full incapacitation, is medically unexplained. Likewise, its pathogenic sources are unidentified, which results in a lack of options for treatment or even amelioration. Given the considerable healthcare investment in this particular “case”, the insufficiency of both diagnostic and therapeutic approaches calls for a different conceptual framework. When applying a socially and phenomenologically informed frame of reference, the lived experience of violation emerges as a salient background for understanding how disrespect and powerlessness have been inscribed with lifelong impact and how they became reactivated by biographic particularities reminiscent of previous objectification. A biomedically unexplained incapacitation is rendered logical when read with a view recognizing the social and corporeal aspects of human experience.


Incarnate subjectivity, multi-morbidity, person-centered care, phenomenology, professional power, sociality

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