Connecting over connectivities
Over the next few days, I want to try a short experiment to test out our nascent Critical Physiotherapy Network and see just how powerful this social networking business really could be.
Our 30 Days of September project showed that the most popular task for our group was going to be ‘Explaining philosophy to physios.’ Well, with that in mind – and always thinking that philosophy should be practically useful to people in their everyday lives – I’ve got a project that I want to kick off, and see whether we can do something radical in physiotherapy.
The project is to bring together people across the Network to collaborate on a piece of writing for publication that helps explain the idea of connectivity to physiotherapists.
If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, I’ll use some posts over the next couple of days to explain how I understand it and think about it in my practise. But in simple terms, I see it as a new way to conceive of disability and otherness that looks at how people connect with mediating technologies (tools, equipment, other people, ideas even) to engage meaningfully in the world.
The paradigm case and model for this idea comes from our very own Barbara Gibson, whose paper ‘Disability, Connectivity and Transtressing the Autonomous Body’ (Journal of Medical Humanities, 2006, 27:187-196) illustrates the idea beautifully.
Connectivity, for me:
- Could be a really important way for physiotherapists to connect themselves with the changing world of health care.
- It could be a way to connect with other people working with long term illness, pain and disability (not least Occupational Therapists, who have a very strong model of occupation which resonates closely with connectivity, but also physicians nurses, psychologists, sports scientists, etc.)
- But it could be a way for us to mark out our own position of advocacy for service users, value their embodiment and work to bring a critical voice to their empowerment.
- It could provide a way to move beyond the narrow ‘medical model’ of disability and critique the ‘social model,’ whilst offering a focus for some really innovative new scholarship that few people have yet grasped.
- It could also provide a space for the phenomenologists, critical, postmodern and other thinkers within the group to exercise their philosophical muscles and connect with each other on a shared project – debating possibilties and moving beyond our current understandings.
So this is my plan…I’ll post some ideas on connectivity on the blog over the next few days, and anyone who connects to the project by adding comments (either by email or, preferably, using the comments box so others can respond to them), will be ‘on the team’ (team uniforms to be organised later).
Our goal is to construct a publication to send off to Physiotherapy Theory and Practice within 3 months. Anyone who makes a substantial contribution to the finished project will be on the paper as a named author.
I’ve never done anything like this before, but what the hell! Could be fabulous, could be a disaster. But you don’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a tea-towel.