Beyond the Divisive Approach in Sociology of Health. an Introduction to an Enactive Perspective in Health and Well-Being.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 32 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Vincenzo GIORGINO, University of Torino, Italy
My presentation unravels the threads of four questions emerging from the invitation to this session. What is healing in the contemplative perspective of health and well being? What is the conception of the body in it? What is the self? Who is suffering?

In Sociology of Health there is a long tradition of studies that take into account the transformation of the self faced by sick people, especially the chronically ill.

I will present a selected critical review of the interactionist research in the field to show how the self is observed and analysed.

Next to this area, it is appropriate to make at least a nod to those studies that take as object the diffusion of lay contemplative practices, for the most part highlighting the process of commercialization that runs through.

In these two sub-fields of study, the management of self appears a central concern: what I want to emphasize is that in both the main obstacle to sociological understanding is the dominant lack of something model (”Sociology abhores a vacuum”: Rock and Downes 1988).

In the final part, on the basis of the enactive model of Varela et al. (1991) and of some empirical study in which I integrate current sociological methods with contemplative first-person methods, I argue that the potential of emptiness can be rediscovered in favour of the construction of an experience-based, post-constructivist paradigm in which human suffering is recognized and managed more effectively.

The possibility of accepting contemplative practices as embodied transformational social actions could change the current perspective, not only contributing to a renewal of its epistemological foundation but also offering enactive tools for the cessation or reduction of suffering itself (Bourdieu 1999: The Weight of the World Social Suffering in Contemporary Society).