Abrams2014

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Abrams2014
BibType ARTICLE
Key Abrams2014
Author(s) Thomas Abrams
Title Flawed by Dasein? Phenomenology, Ethnomethodology, and the Personal Experience of Physiotherapy
Editor(s)
Tag(s) EMCA, Physiotherapy, Disability, Heidegger, Ontological difference, Phenomenology, Ethnomethodology
Publisher
Year 2014
Language
City
Month
Journal Human Studies
Volume 37
Number 3
Pages 431–446
URL Link
DOI 10.1007/s10746-014-9316-2
ISBN
Organization
Institution
School
Type
Edition
Series
Howpublished
Book title
Chapter

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Abstract

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.

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