Concepts of Health and Illness

Concepts of Health and Illness

Over the summer I attended Concepts of Health and Illness, a multidisciplinary conference organised by philosophers Havi Carel and Rachel Cooper as the final event in their AHRC-funded network The Concepts of Health, Illness and Disease. Like most events organised as part of the network, it was a fascinating and genuinely multidisciplinary gathering of philosophers, healthcare professionals and other scholars in the humanities and social sciences. The abstract booklet, available on the project web site, gives a good overview of the range of ideas discussed, but one thing that struck me as particularly interesting was the emphasis on finding new ways of communicating. Havi Carel, for example, talked about developing a phenomenological toolkit that would empower patients with a new vocabulary and framework for articulating the embodied experience of illness, while Molly van der Weij, in her paper on envisioning pain, described a process of transforming patients’ descriptions into a visual communication tool (or series of tools) for use in clinical settings. It will be fascinating to see how these projects develop and whether there are any intersections.


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