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Expressions of Suffering
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Ethnographies of Illness Experience in Contemporary Finnish Contexts
Academy of Finland, 1999 - 2004
Person in charge
Marja-Liisa Honkasalo MD., PhD., docent
The project has published an anthology titled Sufferings in everyday life. It deals with various sufferings and miseries in contemporary Finnish society.
Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, Terhi Utriainen ja Anna Leppo (toim.): "Arki satuttaa. Kärsimyksiä suomalaisessa nykypäivässä" Vastapaino, Tampere 2004.
A: Suffering, social memory and the Karelian heart
Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, MD., PhD., Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, fellow, Dept. Public Health, docent
B: Biomedicine and experiences: the construction(s) of ischaemic heart disease in Finnish contexts (2002 - 2004)
Juha Soivio, MA, Department of Cultural Anthropology, PhD. candidate
C: Narratives of depression
Vilma Hänninen, PhD., Department of Social Psychology
D: Good Lives, Hidden Miseries. An Ethnography of Uncertainty in a Finnish Village
Susanne Ådahl, PhD, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
E: Experiencing back pain - a study of men and women with back pain
Annika Lillrank, Ph.D , Department of Social Policy, University of Helsinki
F: The Religious Nude - Metaphors of nakedness and dress as expressions of suffering and identity
Terhi Utriainen, PhD., Department of Comparative Religion, Post doctoral research fellow (Academy of Finland)
G: Diaspora and everyday Islam - Somali women's experiences of health, illness and healing
Marja Tiilikainen, PhD, Department of Comparative Religion
H: Abortion, Embodiment, Gender and the Sacred
Salome Tuomaala, MA, Department of Comparative Religion, University of Helsinki
I: Suffering, social memory and the Karelian heart
Anna Leppo , MSc, Department of Sociology, University of Helsinki
The aim of this multi-disciplinary research project is to shed light on the experience and representation of illness as a social and cultural question. The research is based within the field of medical anthropology, but leans on the theoretical and methodological research foundations of social medicine, anthropology, comparative religion, social psychology and gender studies.
The objectives of this research project, divided into different sub-studies, are:
~ experiences of chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and depression, in the Finnish society and culture
~ the cultural construction of these experiences and the religious models that inform them, especially in terms of
~ lay theories and the durable constructions that they bring to light, as well as the transformations in lay theories brought about by social change
~ social interaction, where meaning and interpretations are produced, and
~ the Finnish character of illness experiences and their historical and local variability
The questions posed to our empirical material are:
~ how do individuals experience and interpret their suffering and illnesses as part of their everyday life?
~ how are changes and permanence in these perceptions historically constructed?
~ what are the central sub-texts that construct suffering and illness?
~ in which ways are illness experiences, categories and interpretations cultural and situational questions?
~ How do people, who have moved to Finland, interpret and construct their illness in Finland and how does the Finnish society respond to this?
~ What role does diaspora and homelessness play in the construction of the illness experience?
~ How do perceptions of the good life among Finns and immigrants move closer to each other and to what degree do they become intertwined?
~ How "Finnish" are Finnish public health diseases?
P.O. Box 4, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
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