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Geographies of compulsive interactions: bodies, objects, spaces

Beljaars, Diana 2018. Geographies of compulsive interactions: bodies, objects, spaces. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This doctoral thesis introduces compulsivity as an empirical, conceptual and theoretical phenomenon to human geography. Compulsivity as mobilised here is associated with the Tourette syndrome diagnosis, and can be understood as the performance of unwanted and unprecedented interactions that are experienced to be purposeless and meaningless in their response to unqualified urges. Drawing on and contributing to medical and clinical sciences of Tourette syndrome, geographies of medicalised performances and perception, as well poststructural and postphenomenological theories in cultural geography, it focuses on the performativity of compulsive interactions between affected bodies and their material environments. As urge-driven compulsions have received little to no scholarly attention, the study seeks to identify if and how a spatial approach could help understand these engagements. In turn, it explores how compulsivity as a principle could develop geography’s conceptualisations of person-place relations. The study then examines the ways in which bodily environments affect compulsive interactions, and how they are negotiated. It does so through in-depth semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and mobile eye-tracking in close collaboration with 15 participants. The study took place in the homes of the participants, shops, cars, public transport, natural areas, and schools in the Netherlands over an 8-month period. The outcomes reimagine compulsivity as choreographies between human bodies, objects and spaces that configure towards each other and form systems through dimensions they then come to share. Compulsive interactions constitute, affirm, and (re)stabilise these systems by elongating their durations in order for those affected to thrive. In their anticipation and performance of compulsions, they apply a plethora of spatial negotiation techniques. In addition to carving out a space for a compulsive approach to body-world formation beyond the Tourette syndrome diagnosis, this study develops a vitalist ethics for human geography to study medicalised performances. Furthermore, it proposes new ways for capacity building for, and integration in, academic research of those affected.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Compulsivity; Tourette syndrome; Eye-tracking; Ethnography; Performativity; Poststructuralism; Embodiment; Mental Health; Disability; Interdisciplinary
Funders: President's Scholarship
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 October 2018
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:01

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