|Title||Flawed by Dasein? Phenomenology, ethnomethodology, and the personal experience of physiotherapy|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Physiotherapy, Disability, Heidegger, Ontological difference, Phenomenology, Ethnomethodology|
This paper applies a hybrid Heideggerian-ethnomethodological approach to physiotherapy practice. Unlike previous studies written by and for practitioners, this paper uses my personal experience receiving physical therapy as its point of departure. By combining Heidegger’s [Being and time (trans: Stambaugh J). State University of New York Press, New York 1996] notion of the ‘ontological difference’ with Garfinkel’s (Studies in ethnomethodology, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs 1967) concept of ‘accountability,’ I argue that in physical therapy practice, both client and practitioner actively shape the body into a coherent object for medical intervention. I begin by introducing three key phenomenological concepts, the life-world, the ontological difference, and Heidegger’s critique of subjectivity. I then empirically substantiate these concepts by reviewing classic and recent studies in ethnomethodology. I conclude with my own experience of physical therapy, and demonstrate how both client and practitioner actively constitute the body as a medical and therapeutic object. This is cause for both disability studies and physiotherapy to reconsider some of their core concepts, ‘medicalization’ and ‘client-specific measurement,’ respectively.