Touching moments: phenomenological sociology and the haptic dimension in the lived experience of motor neurone disease

  • Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, Amanda Pavey
  • Sociology of Health & Illness, July 2014, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.12104

The sense of touch in experiences of Motor Neurone Disease

What is it about?

Currently, there is a relative lack of phenomenological research into the lived experience of motor neurone disease. Based on a sociological research project in the UK, involving 42 participants diagnosed with MND, this article explores the potential of a phenomenological sociology for analysing experiences of this drastically life-limiting neurological disorder. Calls have been made for sociological researchers to analyse more fully and deeply the sensory dimension of the lived body, and this article also contributes to this newly developing body of literature. Here, we take forward the literature by specifically focusing upon the haptic dimension, or the sense of touch, given that touch emerged as salient in MND patients' accounts. To illustrate the potential of our phenomenologically inspired theoretical perspective, we consider two specific themes: (i) being out of touch: the loss of certain forms of touch within MND and (ii) unwelcome touch by medical staff.

Why is it important?

Contributes to an under-explored area in the sociology of health and illness, in addressing the role of the senses - specifically, the sense of touch.

Read Publication

The following have contributed to this page: Professor Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson