Eventful Bodies : The Cosmopolitics of Illness book cover
1st Edition

Eventful Bodies
The Cosmopolitics of Illness

ISBN 9781138053755
Published March 29, 2017 by Routledge
196 Pages

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Book Description

Disrupting, questioning and altering the taken-for-granted ’cosmos’ of everyday life, the experiences of illness challenge the different ways in which social normalcy is remembered, maintained and expected. This book explores the manifold experiences of life threatening, infectious or non-curable illnesses that trouble the practices and relations of human and social life. Challenging a mere deficit-model of illness, it examines how the cosmopolitics of illness require and initiate an ethos that cares for difference and diversity. Eventful Bodies presents rich qualitative and ethnographic data alongside print and on-line media sources from Germany and North America, exploring case studies involving Alzheimer's disease, stroke and the global threat of infectious diseases such as SARS. The book engages with debates in cosmopolitics and exposes the agency of those overlooked by contemporary discourses of cosmopolitanism, thus developing a new theory of illness and delineating a novel empirical agenda and conceptual space for sociological and anthropological research. A rigorous examination of the changes wrought in the social world by illness and the implications of this for social and political theory, Eventful Bodies will appeal to sociologists, anthropologists, social and political theorists, geographers and scholars of science and technology studies, with interests in medical sociology, health, illness and the body.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Forgetting bodies; Stroked bodies; Infectious bodies; Conclusion: the social as event; References; Index.

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Michael Schillmeier is Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter, UK and Schumpeter-Fellow of the VolkswagenStiftung. He is the author of Rethinking Disability: Bodies, Senses, and Things, and co-editor of many books including Agency without Actors? Rethinking Collective Action and New Technologies and Emerging Spaces of Care.


’In the impressively scholarly and original Eventful Bodies, Michael Schillmeier brilliantly fashions a cosmopolitics of illness. Taking dementia, stroke and SARS as his case studies, Schillmeier not only reformulates our understandings of health and illness, but also interrogates the very foundations of social theory. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the processuality, complexity and heterogeneity of contemporary society.’ Mike Michael, University of Sydney, Australia ’This is a beautiful book. It focuses on dementia, stroke and SARS and how they unbutton not just bodies and selves, but also social relations and the forms of order that underpin them. From this perspective of illness as a cosmopolitical event, Schillmeier offers us a profound new approach for theorizing and researching medicine, health and illness that keeps people centre stage. Drawing together the empirical, the political and the existential, Eventful Bodies also proposes a new, activist and caring sociology.’ Joanna Latimer, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, UK ’Bodies may indeed be everywhere in contemporary social theory, but rarely are they articulated with such feeling and conceptual rigour as in this beautiful and insightful book. The cosmopolitical approach to bodies under challenge that Schillmeier develops here looks certain to set the agenda for social approaches to embodiment for some time to come.’ Steven D. Brown, University of Leicester, UK ’If you ever wondered what cosmopolitical research would look like, you need to read this book. Michael Schillmeier carries out a brilliant exercise in making accessible and practical the thought of philosophers such as Heidegger, Whitehead, Deleuze or Stengers in order to offer a splendid and novel analysis of the societal issues of health and illness beyond the dominant deficit model.’ Miquel Domènech, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain