David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Human Studies 34 (1):1-21 (2011)
Agoraphobia is commonly considered to be a fear of outside, open, or crowded spaces, and is treated with therapies that work on acclimating the agoraphobic to external places she would otherwise avoid. I argue, however, that existential phenomenology provides the resources for an alternative interpretation and treatment of agoraphobia that locates the problem of the disorder not in something lying beyond home, but rather in a flawed relationship with home itself. More specifically, I demonstrate that agoraphobia is the lived body expression of a person who has developed an inward-turning tendency with respect to being-at-home, and who finds herself, as a result, vulnerable and even incapacitated when attempting to emerge into the public arena as a fully participatory agent. I consider this thesis in light of the fact that since World War I agoraphobia has been diagnosed significantly more in women than in men; indeed, one study found women to be 89% more likely than men to suffer from agoraphobia. I conclude that agoraphobia is a disorder that stands as an emblematic expression of the ongoing pathology of being a woman in contemporary society–a disorder that reflects that even today women belong to a political world in which they are not able to feel properly at-home
|Keywords||Agoraphobia Existential phenomenology Existential health Lived body Gender Agency Being-at-home|
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References found in this work BETA
S. Bordo (2004). Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. University of California Press.
Jean-Paul Sartre (1956/1994). Being and Nothingness. Distributed by Random House.
Iris Marion Young (2005). On Female Body Experience: "Throwing Like a Girl" and Other Essays. Oxford University Press.
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