Journeys and battles: Spatial and gendered discourses of obsessive-compulsive disorder
Campbell, R. (2011). Journeys and battles: Spatial and gendered discourses of obsessive-compulsive disorder (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5916
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5916
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a (mental) health condition that, despite its highly spatial characteristics and high prevalence, has been largely overlooked by human geographers. This thesis seeks to help rectify this oversight by examining the ways in which OCD is gendered, especially in relation to the metaphors used to describe the condition. A conceptual model for a “radical body politics” provides the theoretical framework for this research. Semi-structured interviews, critical reading of stories published by and about people with OCD, and autobiography are used in order to investigate the ways in which men and women utilise discourse in order to represent and make sense of their experiences with OCD. I argue that the ways in which men and women choose to represent through discourse their experiences of OCD have profound implications for their sense of self. Two over-arching discourses are discussed: that of the journey and that of the battle. The more feminised discourse of a journey suggests that the experience of women with OCD is a cathartic pathway of self-realisation with the end-goal of recovery. The more masculinised discourse of battle positions OCD as being both Other to the self and a struggle within the self. Both discourses invoke spatial imagery and have profound implications for how individuals with OCD experience and manage the condition. I also suggest some possible avenues for further geographic research into OCD.
University of Waikato
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