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Sensing the airs : the cultural context for breathing and breathlessness in Uruguay.

Wainwright, M. (2017) 'Sensing the airs : the cultural context for breathing and breathlessness in Uruguay.', Medical anthropology., 36 (4). pp. 332-347.

Abstract

The sensory experience of breathing, particularly the sensation of breathlessness in the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a rich though understudied topic in medical anthropology. Fieldwork in Uruguay made it clear to me that to study the sensorial experience of breathlessness, I would also have to study the widely shared cultural conceptualizations and practices surrounding air, breath, and health. In this article, I illustrate ethnographically how the experience of breathing and breathlessness is closely tied to perceptions of air outside the body – in particular humidity, temperature change, wind, and contamination. In conceptualizing breath as the mechanism and air the medium for environmental embodiment, I bring together sensorial medical anthropology, anthropology of the body, and the anthropology of wind and climate. My findings, in light of similar findings across contexts, suggest that a body transformed by COPD is hyperperceptive and hypersensitive to changes in air.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
First Live Deposit - 27 March 2017
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1080/01459740.2017.1287180
Publisher statement:© 2017 Megan Wainwright. Published with license by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Record Created:27 Mar 2017 12:43
Last Modified:18 May 2017 14:38

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