chapter  5
19 Pages

My Multiple Sick Bodies: Symbolic Interactionism, Autoethnography and Embodiment

ByKen Plummer

My aim in this article is to bridge my personal experiences of the body in illness with symbolic interactionist theory. I confront many things about the body simultaneously: the false dichotomies and dualisms of philosophical analysis which speak abstractly without direct engagement with the empirical world; the continuing importance of the hundred-year-old theory of symbolic interactionism as a tool to help create perspectives for making sense of the body in the empirical world; the challenging need to develop new and critical modes of presenting ideas about the body in academic presentation; and finally a few of my own experiences of liver illness and transplant surgery. This is a lot to do in a very short chapter, which is hence inevitably limited, exploratory and partial.