THE EMBODIMENT THEORY, THE HOLISTIC APPROACH AND BREAST CANCER IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT
In this paper I will discuss, in some brief length and detail, a few ways in which the perspective of embodiment, using the four bodies of the SOCL1016 course, enables doctors (including the many other types of health care practitioners) and patients to better comprehend and holistically intervene in cases of cancer of the breast. I will also attempt to outline some of the strengths and the weaknesses, if not the challenges, of the theory of embodiment via the referral to South African and generic examples mentioned in various readings, articles and those of the guest lecturer, Renee Van der Wiel (April,15th, 2014)
The definition of embodiment, by some consensus of online users, as according to The Online Free Dictionary (2014) is “the act of embodying or the state of being embodied or being a body that embodies”; although as according to our lectures delivered by Kezia Lewins (April, 2014), embodiment is the relationship between the mind and the body, and the relationship between the individual (the self) and the general society in which the body lives. Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Margaret M. Lock, in a 1987 paper that they wrote, proclaim a theory of embodiment that has three separate bodies: the individual body (which is understood to be the actual individual self), the social body (which represents the simultaneous interaction between the individual and society and how that society is affected by the individual) and the body politic (which demonstrates how various governments and authorities try to control not only the movement of the bodies of individuals but also the behaviour of those bodies). On the other hand, Jones (2011) says that there are three global, universal, perspectives of embodiment: the body as a Specimen (the biological and physical body), the body as a Spectacle (as it is meant to behave in society and how it presents itself) and the body as a Patient (in the clinical context under medical jurisdiction and supervision). The SOCL1016 (Sociological Foundations of Health) (2014) course sums these view points of the body as four types of bodies: the physical physiological body; the lived experience of the body Phenomenological; the societal construction of the body, the Social; and the body in the medical context, the Clinical.
In dealing with breast cancer, the knowledge of these four embodiment types, can act as an aid to doctors as to how they should deal with their patients in a more holistic approach in order to get the best results( Csordas, 1994); especially in research regarding the experiences of South African women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and have to deal with the burden of illness in addition to, in many contexts, poverty, unemployment and poor living conditions that are somewhat commonplace in the South African context; where, a substantial number of the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer tend to be...