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ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Law Jonh

Law Jonh

Honorary Professor, Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University (LU), Department of Sociology, Bowland North, Lancaster University, LA14YN Lancaster, UK.


Embodied Action, Enacted Bodies. The Example of Hypoglycaemia / Logos. 2017. № 2 (117). P. 233-262
annotation:  The authors of the paper reinvent the notion of the body. The authors propose a shift from substantial conceptions of the body to processual conceptions, i.e. to a body we do. Through what practices are bodies enacted? The article refers to hypoglycemia, low blood sugar level. In the case of a diabetic, knowledge of hypoglycemia is not restricted to a condition of blood, as he or she immersed in practices by which hypoglycemia is done: a diabetic a) registers hypoglycemia through self-awareness; b) counters it by taking carbohydrates; c) avoids it by maintaining a target sugar level; d) producesit if the recommended target sugar level turns out too low (to counter hyperglycemia). These practices take place in the patient’s body as well as outside of it. Hypoglycemia includes not only self-awareness, but also carb charts, a glucometer, dextrose and witnesses who notice hypoglycemia first. The body-we-do has semi-permeable boundaries, as some processes are incorporated, others excorporated. A body is a whole, but not a coherent whole, rather a range of tensions between processes: interests of different organs (low sugar is healthy, but one risks hypoglycemia, which causes brain damage); sugar level regulation and unpredictable jumps; the wish to live a full life. The aim of the body-we-do is to find a balance between tensions. The aim of medicine is to see a patient not as a passive but as an active body made through numerous practices. Zen medical invasion will cease to be considered an invasion into bodily tissues, intervening in one parameter, and will become clearly what it always was — an intervention into human life, not always yielding improvement.
Keywords:  ethnography; modern medicine; body; body practices; diabetes; hypoglycaemia; self-awareness
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