Since this blog is based around my PhD, it’s a good idea to tell you a little about it.
My working title is ‘Body politics: everyday survivability in kidney transfer’ and here is a brief description of what I am hoping to research as well as my aims…
I’m interested in how health and illness interact with people’s lives, and I’m specifically interested in the everyday experiences and ‘survivability’ of kidney transplant patients.
Survivability refers to ‘living on’ (surviving), which is significant in the context of kidney transplantation. Kidneys are the most frequent type of transplant performed around the world, with a high demand and a limited supply of donors, where the average ‘waiting time for a deceased donor kidney transplant is two to three years’ (NHS, 2015). When patients are on the waiting list for a transplant, they are constantly negotiating their ability to survive. For example, this could be the way kidney transplantation is talked about in the media, the broader politics associated with health care systems, or how people may feel differently about their kidney transfer when they inhabit different places and spaces.
My overarching research objective is to explore these everyday experiences and geographies of the survivability of kidney transfer patients. I hope to do this through the following aims:
To examine the differentiated everyday embodied experiences of survivability
This first aim intends to understand the everyday embodied experiences of survivability in the kidney transfer process. This aim engages with questions regarding how patients at different stages in the transfer process think about their body, how patients come to understand the process, as well as how such experiences vary according to age, gender, ethnicity etc.
To investigate how the relationality of survivability changes over time
This aim investigates how patients’ survivability, and their management of it, changes before and during the kidney transfer process. This will be facilitated by investigating survivability at different stages of kidney transfer, such as: diagnosis, waiting for an available kidney, 5 years post-transplantation and 10 years or longer post-transplantation. This aim also seeks to understand how such temporalities of managing survivability vary according to different population groups.
To explore how different bodies, places and spaces impact on, and are impacted by, survivability
The final research aim is concerned with the spatial aspects of survivability. It focuses on how survivability varies according to different spaces, places and situations, as well as how survivability impacts different spatial contexts and everyday situations. It is concerned with how space and place may complicate, or be complicated, by survivability. This not only refers to individual and personal contexts, but also wider geographic scales; for example, access to healthcare and resources.