Challenging the Conceptual Limits in Health Psychology: Using the Concept of Conduct of Life to Study People’s Health Activities from a Social and Subjective Perspective
This contribution explores the connection between health and subjectivity. Up until recently a marginally discussed topic in health theories, recent critical research in health psychology introduces notions of subjectivity to theories of health. These notions can be linked to phenomenology, embodied subjectivity, and psychosocial theories that have moved away from a partial, internal understanding of subjectivity. These recent theories tend to define subjectivity as a coherence of concrete, embodied and situated subjectivity that extends capabilities and activities towards a world of social relations. The article at hand shows that embodied and situated subjectivity is a basic function of health that sustains the qualities of human life. To comprehend health as a subjective practice in human lives, we need an understanding of people’s subjective participation in their everyday social lives. Hence, I will argue for the concept of conduct of life as an important concept for health psychology. The concept of conduct of life enables an analysis of how people conduct their activities and of their access to life possibilities, within social settings and societal power systems. The concept can be used to analyse the connection between subjectivity and health in the cultural and social relations by which people actually live.
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