«Experiência, Saúde, Cronicidade: um olhar socioantropológico» | Eds: Reni Barsaglini, Sílvia Portugal and Lucas Melo

Editora Fiocruz | Coimbra University Press | 2021


At a time when the long-term effects - physical, mental and collective - of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil and worldwide are being debated, analysing long-term conditions and illnesses is even more pertinent. It is in this context that the Editora Fiocruz launches Experiência, Saúde, Cronicidade: um olhar socioantropológico, a collection that will be available for purchase from 14 October, in print - via the Editora Fiocruz Virtual Bookstore - and digital format, through the SciELO Books Portal.

Edited by Reni Barsaglini, Sílvia Portugal and Lucas Melo, the title is part of the Antropologia e Saúde [Anthropology and Health] collection and is co-edited with the Portuguese academic publisher Coimbra University Press. The book brings together 19 researchers from different academic backgrounds, institutions and nationalities, including Brazil, Portugal and New Zealand.

The authors come together “around the theme of the experience with conditions and some long-term illnesses, considered chronic by biomedicine, as well as the relationship of patients with technologies on which they depend in the treatment of certain diseases”, summarizes, in the preface, Professor Ana Maria Canesqui, Faculty of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas (Unicamp).

The book analyses the social construction of the experiences with chronic illness, its social and cultural senses and meanings. The 15 chapters are divided into three parts, with the first aimed at a theoretical and conceptual discussion and the other two at empirical studies. “We focus on the experience with the health-disease process, exploring its potentialities and diversities, such as the concept and the approach to those conditions, sufferings and illnesses of long duration, i.e., that last over time and characterize chronicity”, explains Reni Barsaglini.

The collection reinforces the importance of the role of subjective experiences. To this end, one of the hallmarks of the work is to present first-person accounts, with emphasis on the perspectives of those who feel the problems reported throughout the book. However, the book tries not to stick only to the subjectivist perspective of experience to understand what is lived daily in relation to illness and other situations. “The approaches we find here are not limited to the face-to-face interactions that have traditionally marked experience studies. We also seek to understand the experience situated in relational contexts and in wider socio-historical contexts”, highlights Silvia Portugal.

The book is marked by interdisciplinarity
From a socio-anthropological perspective, the title emphasises the singularity of acting and interpreting in everyday issues, such as suffering, illness, care, political practice and engagement, among others. For this, it is essential to highlight the interdisciplinarity that marks the collection, based on dialogues between authors from different disciplinary areas and different theoretical traditions, “thus making room for the multiplicity of expressions of complexity and multidimensionality of experiences with chronic diseases, demonstrating its heuristic potential for understanding suffering in contemporary times”, says Fátima Alves, researcher at the University of Coimbra, in the book's liner notes.

It is these different academic and professional trajectories encompassed in the book that allow for a diversity of theoretical approaches, themes and research methodologies, since studies on experience with chronic conditions require a frontier and interdisciplinary practice. “The collection stimulates the dialogue between social sciences and humanities and the fields of public health and collective health, providing innovative and interdisciplinary perspectives of the health-disease process”, emphasizes Lucas Melo

About the organisers
Educator Reni Barsaglini is a doctor in Collective Health, post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra; professor at the Institute of Collective Health at the Federal University of Mato Grosso. She is the author, by Editora Fiocruz, of As Representações Sociais e a Experiência com o Diabetes: um enfoque socioantropológico (2011), a book that is also part of the Anthropology and Health collection.

Sociologist Sílvia Portugal holds a PhD in Sociology and is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, where she is also a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies at the Studies on Social Policies, Labour and Inequalities Research Group (Postrade).

A graduate in Nursing, Lucas Melo holds a PhD in Science and is a lecturer at the Department of Psychiatric Nursing and Human Sciences at the University of São Paulo (USP) Ribeirão Preto School of Nursing, where he coordinates the Laboratory for Social Research in Health and Nursing (LASSEn).