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SEMINAR: ANTHROPOLOGY / SOCIOLOGY SEMINAR SERIES

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Today's date is Saturday, January 23, 2021
ANTHROPOLOGY / SOCIOLOGY SEMINAR SERIES : Human Sentience and Ideas of Empathy: A Neuroanthropological Study of the Sensory Life Worlds of Women With Fibromyalgia and/or Autism Spectrum Condition Other events...
Human Sentience and Ideas of Empathy: A Neuroanthropological Study of the Sensory Life Worlds of Women With Fibromyalgia and/or Autism Spectrum Condition

This proposed ethnographic study poses the question: How are biomedical interpretations of fibromyalgia (FM) and autism spectrum condition (ASC) in women mediated by cultural constructions of human sentience and empathy? It seeks to understand how notions of what it is to be a coherent, balanced and well-functioning human being, realised at both a societal and biomedical level, impact on the senses of self and well-being of women with one or both of these conditions. I also aim to gain a better picture of the sensory life-worlds of these women, for whom heightened sensory sensitivity is a common feature of their perception and engagement, as well as disengagement, with the world around them. Using a neuroanthropological approach, I wish to investigate the interplay among the increasingly sophisticated neurological understandings of these conditions, the psychological constructs that medical practitioners frequently use in profiling these individuals, and the ways in which the individuals themselves try to form and sustain identities within societal and biomedical contexts that often limit their capacity for expression and being understood. Neuroanthropology is an emergent field that explores how the brain and nervous system are culturally patterned, by “the things that people do and say and the ways we interact with one another and the environment” (Downey & Lende 2012, p. 41). Both FM and ASC have been associated with the personality construct alexithymia in the medical literature, which refers to difficulty in recognising and describing emotions in the body. Both have also been described as featuring abnormal sensory processing, but there has been a scarcity of on the ground research that considers how these people attempt to navigate daily life with sensory sensitivities, how they attempt to communicate, and how sociocultural factors influence communication. This study hopes to elucidate some of the cultural complexities that contribute to the unfolding and experiencing of FM and ASC in women.
Speaker(s) Sally Robertson, PhD Candidate
Location Social Sciences Building, Rm 2204
Contact Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Start Fri, 11 Mar 2016 14:30
End Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:30
Submitted by Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Last Updated Mon, 07 Mar 2016 11:39
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