Dr.Joel Krueger, University of Exeter, Faculty of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology
'Diminished Embodiment and Affectivity in Moebus Syndrome and Schizophrenia: A Phenomenological Analysis'
Moebus Syndrome (MS) and schizophrenia might initially seem to have little to do with one another. The former is a congenital neurological disorder resulting in complete bilateral facial paralysis; the latter, a severe mental illness commonly defined as a disruption of thought and the perception of reality. However, closer examination of the experience of people with MS and schizophrenia, respectively, reveals some intriguing points of convergence -- along with some important divergence, too -- that help us better understand what it's like to live with and through these conditions.
In this talk I argue that both MS and schizophrenia can be understood to involve a disruption of embodiment and affectivity -- disruptions that can be portrayed as a diminishment or loss of intimacy with one's embodied subjectivity and, subsequently, affective structures linking self and world. After introducing phenomenological approaches to the body and affect, I analyse the experiences characteristic of MS and schizophrenia along three dimensions: (1) self-presence, (2) self-world relations, and (3) self-other relations. Drawing upon narrative self-reports and clinical vignettes, I show how these dimensions become experientially disrupted in both conditions -- and how the unifying feature of this disruption is the felt diminishment of one's embodiment and affective engagement with the world and others. I conclude by briefly indicating how this phenomenological perspective might inform the development of body- and movement-based forms of intervention and therapeutic strategies.