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Parkinson's Disease as a problem of shame in public appearance

Nijhof, Gerhard

Sociology of Health & Illness, March 1995, Vol.17(2), pp.193-205 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Parkinson's Disease as a problem of shame in public appearance
  • Author: Nijhof, Gerhard
  • Subjects: Public Health
  • Is Part Of: Sociology of Health & Illness, March 1995, Vol.17(2), pp.193-205
  • Description: Using life stories as data, the research problem was to find patterns in the interpretations of Parkinson's Disease. In one of the patterns—found in 12 of the 23 life stories—Parkinson's Disease is interpreted as a problem of ‘shame’. The interpretation of shame could partly be explained by other elements of the pattern. Shame is said to arise from the assumed rule‐breaking character of the signs of the disease. Not all rule‐breaking behaviour, however, is said to be an explanation for shame. Three conditions are mentioned. The first is the social importance of the rules broken. The rules which are said to cause shame are considered as socially sensitive, as related to important social values. The value particularly pointed to is described as ‘social competence’. The second condition is the ‘visibility’ of the behaviour. Particularly, rule‐breaking in public is said to arouse shame. The third condition is the assumption of being labelled as a ‘deviant’ because of the rule‐breaking behaviour. In this pattern of interpretation two consequences are drawn. In the first the life world is divided into a ‘private’ and a ‘public’ domain. In the second, found in almost all the life stories in which shame is mentioned, the informants say they feel inclined to ‘retreat’ from the public domain.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0141-9889 ; E-ISSN: 1467-9566 ; DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.ep10933386

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