This book is the story of twelve people, each living with long-term illness. Delving into the routines and rhythms of everyday life, the book reveals the significance of the things that we usually take for granted, from what we eat to when we sleep, how we move, and what we wear. Learning from the lives portrayed, it explores ideas of care, vulnerability and choice, questioning what it means to live a modern life with illness and illuminating the vitality of bodies along the way.
Juxtaposing academic text with rich descriptions and vivid illustrations, including video stills, journal extracts, and drawings, the book highlights the sensory and emotional intimacies of visual sociology and demonstrates the use and value of sensuous scholarship.
"Vital Bodies reminds us that we all face the struggle of how to be at home in our skin. But like all homes our bodies are weathered by time and fall into disrepair. More than any narrowly practical exploration of health and illness this elegant book documents how people struggle with life and limb to find peace, stability and shelter in the world through their bodies. A remarkable book of gentle but brilliant insights into the nature of life itself." Les Back, Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths
"A beautifully judged book privileging the voices and expertise of people with chronic illnesses. Bates uses her participants’ experiences as a way into a diverse body of scholarship, through which she urges us to think more critically about what is at stake when people are disabled by the demands of contemporary urban life." Anna Ruddock, editor of Making Visible: Chronic Illness and the Academy
"Astute, attentive, and illuminating, this study sheds much-needed light on people's diverse illness experiences. Bates sensitively attends to the everyday experiences of illness, which, she rightly claims, harbour the unfolding and continuously changing meaning of illness for the ill person.." Havi Carel, University of Bristol
Charlotte Bates is a Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University.
Genes and organs;
Feet and legs;
Hands and hearts;
Appendix: Sensuous scholarship.