Thanks to everyone who sent me comments and thoughts on the Connectivity writing project. Over the next few days I’ll post up some of the feedback and thoughts that these pieces. Remember to send comments on these things too and I’ll pull them all together.
This post came from Jenny Setchell – Senior physiotherapist (musculoskeletal, private practice) and PhD candidate (Psychology), lecturer and researcher at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
I am enjoying reading about this concept of connectivity and use of mediating technologies. I am not sure if it helps to add some (inexpert and incomplete) thoughts from my own experiences but here we go!
While I hadn’t come across this concept before the initial blog post and then reading Barbara’s article, I think I have intuitively been using elements of this concept in some work I have been doing with students about ‘obesity’. I don’t view large bodies as ‘other’ so have difficulty working with graphs and tables that divide up our body weight/BMI into categories with names and calling equipment that is larger (than what is currently deemed normal) names such as ‘bariatic’. Of course it makes sense to have something for everyone to sit on (for eg) that feels comfortable and isn’t going to break; but why do we create an arbitrary distinction of ‘bariatric equipment’ when it is all the same stuff, just in different sizes? People may well be growing – just look at the height of doors in 400 year old houses. Thus we probably need to often rethink chair (etc) sizes as we continue to grow (and live longer). This is how/who we are for now. Just because we were/are not always this way doesn’t mean this should be defined as pathology to be fixed.
Connectivity is particularly salient within fat studies at the moment as ‘obesity’ has only last year been classified as a disease in the US and there has been much discussion about whether it also should be classified as a ‘disability’. Some social arguments contend that this type of othering will help reduce the stigma that comes from assigning fatness to individual responsibility. Connectivity sidesteps this whole issue.
PS: who said academic writing can’t be creative – some sections of Disability, Connectivity and Transgressing the Autonomous Body were just beautiful Barbara Gibson!