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Nothing matters: the significance of the unidentifiable, the superficial and nonsense
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. University of Agder, Norway.
Number of Authors: 32019 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, ISSN 1748-2623, E-ISSN 1748-2631, Vol. 14, no 1, article id 1684780Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The aim of this study is to explore the ways in which “small things” may be of importance for people with mental health difficulties.

Method: Empirical material from three different studies was reanalysed through a phenomenological, dialogical, approach.

Results: We discovered some paradoxical aspects of small things: i.e., they could be about “something” that was difficult or even impossible to identify. The unidentifiable could be about bodily, sensual experiences that are superficial (i.e., belonging to the surface). The interaction with others highlighted as significant could be about doing something fun, talking nonsense or kidding around, and hence not at all about making sense of something—a kind of important nonsense. We summarize these aspects in three themes: the importance of the unidentifiable, the superficial and nonsense. These aspects can be regarded as small things—even “nothings”—that make it possible “to stay in the world”.

Conclusion: We elaborate on the findings in relation to the following: Gumbrecht’s critique of the prevailing hermeneutic world-view with its idea that “interpretation is humankind’s exclusive way of relating to the world”, Ingold’s idea that social life is lived in relations of “interfacility” and hence a turn to surfaces is needed for a “restoration of social life”, and Biesta’s idea of existence as “coming into the world in the presence of others”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 14, no 1, article id 1684780
Keywords [en]
Mental health, recovery, qualitative research, hermeneutics, Ingold, Gumbrecht, Biesta
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176652DOI: 10.1080/17482631.2019.1684780ISI: 000493570400001PubMedID: 31674288OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176652DiVA, id: diva2:1381582
Note

We need to be alert whenever events shape themselves into narratives, for narratives belong to literature and not to life” (Knausgaard, 2018, p. 534).

Available from: 2019-12-23 Created: 2019-12-23 Last updated: 2019-12-23Bibliographically approved

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