This research aims to analyse how the body changes as a result of the development of a physical disability and how it affects the gender identity of the subject. Specifically, it seeks to investigate three areas: femininity and masculinity imaginaries, relationships and affective-sexual practices, and body image. It starts from the assumption that there is a gender difference which is key to understanding the experience of the subjects – women – in these three areas: the development of physical disability, experiencing more barriers to satisfactorily building and reshaping their emotional and sexual life, and sustaining a positive body selfconcept. In all these three areas womens' experiences differ from those of their male counterparts. Moreover, physical disability involves the transition from possessing a ‘valid’ body (capable, productive, and reproductive) to a ‘non-valid’ one (conceived as incompetent, unproductive, and non-reproductive). This research puts forward as a hypothesis that the resulting transformed bodies challenge the dichotomous model of a sex-gender binary as they do not meet the defining precepts of hegemonic masculinity and femininity. To test this hypothesis I applied a qualitative methodology: the body iteneraries of six subjects, three men and three women with spinal cord injury (SCI), were reviewed.
J.F. Matamoros-Sanin and Ingris Peláez-Ballestas
As anthropologists it may be fruitful to consider the way we construct space with our ethnographies; especially regarding illnesses from people with musculoskeletal diseases. The discussion of space in ethnographies and through narratives points to peculiarities and possibilities it could present for ethnographers trying to interpret and understand the way illness takes place in urban areas. Some of these conditions, for example: ankylosing spondylitis, carry consequences understood as disabilities. Part of this reflection shall be sustained from ethnographic fieldwork undergone in Chihuahua City, Mexico. This city belongs to a state located on the border with the United States, where certain indigenous groups live in both rural and urban areas. We present an approach to the health phenomenon with an indigenous person with ankylosing spondylitis who inhabits this place and not only interacts with it, but constructs new ways of existing through space and body alike. To better understand a disabled indigenous body in an urban space, we shall rely on the basic anthropological concept of ‘technics of the body’, while trying to connect with further spatial and technical notions; particularly what we understand as techniques of the body through space. Acknowledging the body without the space it occupies may prevent us from considering what seems to be beyond it, but ends up being a part of it too. Considering how and where people move from this perspective shall hopefully bring theoretical and methodological tools that could enhance our interpretation of illness.