Cultural Meanings of Illness – An interdisciplinary Nordic seminar
April 15, 2011, 10-17
Janus Auditorium, Sirkkala campus, Kaivokatu 12, University of Turku
How do we understand health and illness?
In which ways are they embedded in different historical, cultural, and social practices?
Are notions of health/illness gendered and classed – and if so, how?
The one-day inter-Nordic and interdisciplinary seminar will ponder on different representations of health and illness in both historical and contemporary contexts. Invited speakers will shed light on various aspects of illness – understood both as a personal experience, as a social concern, as a variety of cultural representations, and as social and historical constructions. The use and analysis of different materials (medical documents, fictional texts, autobiographical accounts, lay writings or scientific articles) and methods used in research, give rise to different questions – and answers.
The purpose of the seminar is to bring together scholars interested in diverse perspectives and views concerning health and illness. The invited speakers and panelists represent disciplines such as history, literature, sociology, ethnology, anthropology, and gender studies.
The seminar is organized by the Kone research project Cultural Meanings of Illness in Modernizing Finland,
10:00 Opening: Professor Päivi Lappalainen (Finnish Literature, University of Turku)
10:15 – 11:15 Professor emerita Merete Mazzarella (Scandinavian Literature, University of Helsinki): How healthy is healthy enough?
11:15 – 12.15 Professor Marja-Liisa Honkasalo (Medical Anthropology, Linköping University, University of Turku): Illness, relationality and modes of agency - An ethnographic perspective of illness
12 .15 – 13.15 Lunch
13.15 – 14.15 Associate professor Lars-Eric Jönsson (Ethnology, Lund University): Experiences from psychiatry in Scandinavian literature and autobiographies
14.15 –14:45 Coffee
14:45 – 15:45 Dr Kirsi Tuohela (Cultural History, University of Turku): The rise of asylum narratives in Finland
15:45 – 16:45 Panel Discussion: Inter- and/or multidisciplinary disciplinary practices in research on health & illness
Panelists: Merete Mazzarella, Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, Associate professor Elina Oinas (Sociology, University of Helsinki), and Professor Hannu Salmi (Cultural History, University of Turku).
Chair: Dr Jutta Ahlbeck-Rehn (The Social Science Research Institute, Åbo Akademi University)
16:45 – 17 Closing remarks
Seminar is open to all interested, Welcome!
Professor Marja-Liisa Honkasalo is Professor of Medical Anthropology at the Linköping University. She is both a medical doctor and anthropologist, studying meaning and "doing" illness and health. She has published more than a hundred articles, book chapters, edited anthologies and published books on topic like chronic pain, social suffering and recently, about heart disease in cultural context. Her works include a book Reikä sydämessä ("Hole in the heart", 2008) and an edited collection Arki satuttaa: kärsimyksiä suomalaisessa nykypäivässä ("Everyday life hurts: suffering in the contemporary Finnish culture", 2004) She also works as European editor of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. For further information on Professor Honkasalo see:
Associate professor Lars-Eric Jönsson is Docent of Ethnology at the Lund University, Sweden. Jönsson’s research interests cover the history of psychiatry and societal notions of people depicted as deviant. Docent Jönsson has published extensively on institutional health care of psychiatric patients, looking at Swedish asylum practices from the early twentieth century into more contemporary contexts. More recently, he has moved into the field of fiction, analyzing writers' experiences of life inside a mental institution in his book Berättelser från insidan – En essä om personliga erfarenheter i psykiatrins historia ("Stories from Inside – An Essay on personal experiences in the history of psychiatry", 2010). Jönsson is also the editor-in-chief of RIG – Kulturhistorisk Tidskrift (journal for Ethnology).
Professor emerita Merete Mazzarella is Professor of Scandinavian literature at the University of Helsinki. She has published e.g. studies on the tradition of the Finland-Swedish Novel (Det trånga rummet, 1989) and on the Swedish woman writer Agnes von Krusenstjerna (1992) and a biography of Fredrika Runeberg (Fredrika Charlotta född Tengström. En nationalskalds hustru, 2007). Mazzarella is known for her essays in which she discusses e.g. the art of reading (Där man aldrig är ensam,1999), aging (Då svänger sig sommaren kring sin axel, 2000), identity (Linjer mellan stjärnor, 2002) and retirement (Resa med rabatt, 2010). She has also published autobiographical writings (e.g. Först sålde de pianot, 1979) and fiction (Påsk, 1983 and November, 2004). Mazzarella teaches medical students and professionals at the universities of Helsinki and Uppsala, and is Doctor Honoris Causa in Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine in Uppsala. Her books related to health, illness andcorporeality include Hem från festen, (1992), and Den goda beröringen (2006). Her collections of essays are also available in Finnish. For further information on Professor Mazzarella
(in Swedish) see: http://www.soderstrom.fi/Author.php?id=204
(in Finnish) see: http://www.tammi.fi/kirjailijat/kirjailija/91