I have a background in dancing which was my original reason to study physiotherapy. I graduated in 2008 after which I found a new inspiration in geriatric physiotherapy. I had a very inspiring philosophy teacher at secondary school (or lukio in Finnish) and ever since I’ve had a fascination with philosophical thinking (fun fact: every Finnish lukio student has to take at least one philosophy course). The fascination has proved incurable, at least ever since I met my philosophical “enabler” and revolutionary soul mate who introduced me to dialectics from Hegel to Adorno. In 2011 we packed our belongings (mostly books) in a cheap van a moved from Finland to the UK, where I have finally been able to trace back my interests in the moving body, the aging body and dialectical philosophy both for my Master’s degree and my soon-to-be-finished Ph.D. At the moment (apart from finalizing my dissertation) I’m teaching a few humanities courses at the University of Brighton. I’m also running a webpage with my dear friend and colleague in which we introduce and evaluate research (what constitutes ‘evidence’ for us includes both human and natural sciences) on mental health physiotherapy in Finnish, to promote accessibility and democracy of knowledge beyond paywalls. I first heard about the CPN in 2014 and have been a member since 2015 and glad and proud to be so. Philosophy isn’t exactly a goldmine in the earing-a-living front, but the CPN reminds me why I do what I do (even if I would have to repeatedly pawn my overcoat): we have a chance and the means to change the way we perceive physiotherapy theory and practice. My CV, publications and philosophical ramblings can be found at https://criticalhealthphilosophy.wordpress.com/.
I am interested in moral philosophy and moral practice, mental health, aging and old age, dialectics, and theories of recognition in physiotherapy and healthcare. The core of my theoretical practice draws from modern European philosophy (especially Frankfurt School and Hegel). Other sources for my inspiration include humanities (especially early modern and modern/ist literature) and critical social and political theory. My Ph.D. research is on critical theory and bioethics, with projects on recognition and the ethical force of “materialism of disgust” brewing on the side.
Thinking otherwise about physiotherapy can indeed be a very lonely practice. Knowing that there is a growing global community of otherwise-thinking physiotherapists is an inspiration, and it is not an exaggeration to say that my research would have taken a different direction without this inspiration. The CPN has been invaluable in bringing people together and creating a space for critical thinking about physiotherapy.
Relevant critical publications:
Rajala, Anna Ilona. ”What can critical theory do for the moral practice of physiotherapy?” In Manipulating Practices: A Critical Physiotherapy Reader, edited by Barbara E. Gibson, David A. Nicholls, Jenny Setchell, and Karen Synne Groven, 55–77. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk, 2018. DOI: doi.org/10.23865/noasp.29
Rajala, Anna Ilona. “Pitkäaikaishoivan ruumiillisuuden arvosta [On the value of embodied long-term care].” In Ruumiillisuus ja työelämä: työruumis jälkiteollisessa taloudessa [Embodiment and working life: working body in post-industrial economy], edited by Jaana Parviainen, Taina Kinnunen, and Ilmari Kortelainen, 132-145. Tampere: Vastapaino, 2016.
Rajala, Anna & Jenni Aittokallio. ”Dikotomiat ajattelun kahleina. Mitä teorian ja käytännön erottelu merkitsee fysioterapeutin työssä? [Dichotomies shackle thinking. What does the theory-practice division mean for physiotherapy practice?]” Fysioterapia 61, no. 5 (2014): 27–31.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location (city/town, country): Brighton, UK
Current position(s): PhD candidate and Lecturer (hourly paid) in Humanities at University of Brighton, UK