Resistance and Pain

An analysis of the notion of resistance in light of the way chronic pain sufferers use narrative and objectification to resist pain and how chronic pain in turns resists political economic pressures.

This paper uses Foucault?s work on biopower and governmentality to analyse chronic pain as a resistance to power/knowledge formations that express themselves in terms of control over the body. It attempts to analyse chronic pain by using three different notions of resistance. It looks at how chronic pain causes a contraction of the social world especially in situations of biomedical practice when the moral decision ?it?s all in your head? can often be made by doctors. It examines how this process resists speech (and thus resocialisation) by analysing the dialectical tension this resistance has with the stress, rage and the impulse that drives us to unsettle or confound the fixed order of things. It then explores the resistance that people have to the pain that they feel followed by rage for order.
“Chronic pain confounds many of the concepts and methods used for its analysis, in part because of the privileging of certain spheres of analysis. This is noticeable in a set of assumptions that are part of both biomedical and western philosophical theory. This set of assumptions assumes a divide between mind and body; it assumes that diseases are universal biological or pyschophysiological entities resulting from somatic lesions and dysfunctions. These can produce signs of symptoms, and one must decode the cultural elements of patients systems in terms of their underlying somatic referents. If the symptoms do not fit this mould, then one is denied illness in the biomedical model.”