Despite recent estimates that there are currently 10 million people in the UK suffering from phobias, there is a substantial and conspicuous gap in existing academic literature and research on this topic. This book addresses this gap in relation to geography literature, but also extending beyond this field to connect with a wide range of academics, health professionals and phobic 'others' whose ideas are (re)formed by fear. In doing so, it provides non-clinical, specifically geographical insights into phobia, of relevance for its sufferers and expands human geographical understandings of the relations between gender, embodiment, space and mental health, via a study of agoraphobia. This book argues that a critical geographic perspective is better placed to take account of the importance of wider social contexts and relations, and can give a fully spatialised account of the disorder more faithful to the way sufferers actually describe their experiences. By drawing attention to some of the more unusual ways that people relate to each other, and to their environments, we can illuminate some ordinarily taken for granted aspects of personal geographies.
'Joyce Davidson provides a powerful and highly original interpretation of phobias, and at the same time helps all of us to think afresh about ordinary, everyday experiences at the boundaries between our selves and our environments. By exploring phobic experiences, Davidson sheds new light on what it means to be a gendered, embodied and situated subject.' Professor Liz Bondi, The University of Edinburgh, UK 'This book does a wonderful job in weaving together a sophisticated theoretical framework with the voices and experiences of women.Â Each enriches the other in ways that will surely make a creative contribution to the work of a wide range of readers.' Dr Gillian Rose, The Open University, UK
Contents: Introduction: notes on stories, selves and spaces; What in the world is agoraphobia?; 'Joking Apart…' the negotiation of group boundaries through humour; Fear and trembling in the mall: Kierkegaard and consumer/consuming spaces; 'Putting on a Face': Sartre, Goffman and agoraphobic anxiety in social space; A phenomenology of fear: Merleau-Ponty and agoraphobic life-worlds; Pregnant pauses: agoraphobic embodiment and the limits of (im)pregnability; 'All in the Mind?' analysing the subject of 'Self-Help'; Conclusion: re/solution of spatial identities; Bibliography; Index.