chapter  7
13 Pages


ByViv Martin

This chapter focuses on particular themes that are highlighted by the preceding stories and examines the issues which seem to encompass some of the chief concerns expressed by the storytellers, namely: embodiment; depersonalisation; limbo. If the effect of medical training can be disembodying for the practitioner, then this may have an impact on his or her capacity to empathise with the patient, whose body may be seen more in terms of medical territory than as an embodied, experiencing person. Such 'disembodying' may then have the effect of 'depersonalisation'. Illness intensifies the relationship between body and self as the body makes its presence felt through pain, discomfort, impairment and changes in appearance. Becker writes of the sense of limbo following disruption such as illness, and draws on Turner's concept of liminality, which signifies a threshold or social space between ways of being.