The everyday geographies of living with diabetes

Lucherini, Mark (2015) The everyday geographies of living with diabetes. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Diabetes is a condition often placed on the margins of ‘seriousness’. It is often believed to impact minimally on an individual’s everyday life and, while this may be true for some people, living with diabetes is not always experienced so ‘easily’. Research from myriad disciplines has begun to shed light on the complex personal issues of living with the condition, but, with a few exceptions, there is little input from human geography. This thesis hence explores the ‘geographies of diabetes’ in more detail. The findings hinge around a ‘recession’ of the diabetic body in public space. This recession is both discursive and material, caused by the assumptions and expectations of others that diabetes is among the minor of chronic conditions, largely overcome by insulin and ever advancing technologies which enable greater self-control over the diabetic body. Visible diabetic bodies are hence subject to a disciplining gaze, for having transgressed these expectations. This thesis finds that, despite many people displaying their diabetes minimally in public, the condition impacts greatly on a personal level. People with diabetes are aware that their bodies are at risk of both short- and long-term complications more so than if they did not have diabetes. These vulnerabilities serve to create anxious bodies for whom everyday spontaneity is curbed and dependency is heightened. In order to conceal the visible signifier of diabetes, to avoid the disciplining gaze, people ‘perform’ aspects of their self-management, hence further obscuring the anxious realities of living with diabetes. The embodied differences of having diabetes along with the discursive ‘recession’ of the condition, contribute to an ideal of ‘diabetic citizenship’. It is to this ‘diabetic citizen’ – who experiences the condition with few problems, and with any difficulty attributed to personal and moral failing – that many people with diabetes express their frustration. Through the methods of online questionnaires and face-to-face interviews, this thesis raises awareness of the clandestine geography experienced by people with diabetes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: diabetes, human geography, emotion, phenomenology, performance, embodiment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Philo, Professor Christopher and Parr, Professor Hester
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Dr Mark Lucherini
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6593
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2015 12:32
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2015 07:53
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6593

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