9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Social and Health Issues Related to Ageing Death and/or Dying Building I, 1E2

Suffering bodies: an exploration of the missing link between the body and self-identity in the dying process

In this paper I propose to discuss the extent to which the decrease of the body?s ability to act as the agent of one?s embodied actions leads to the disintegration of self-identity. The relation between body and self-identity appear to be problematic for chronically ill patients especially for those who are nearing death since they tend to suffer lastly bodily losses. The comprehension of how the lack of corporeal capacity of self-containment affects patients? self-identity involves an understanding of the meaning attributed to these bodily experiences and the social context in which they occur. The literature (e.g. Armstrong-Coster, 2004; Charmaz, 1995; Lawton, 2000) suggests that patients are confronted with a loss of self and social identity when their bodily boundedness and integrity became impossible to restore. By examining central themes of reference, arguments and examples of how the process of change and loss is experience by chronically ill patients over their dying process I intend to explore the ways in which the deterioration of the physical body and lack of self-containment leads to a loss of personhood and social identity or what one may call a form of social death.