Existential vulnerability: an ethnographic study of everyday lives with diabetes in Vietnam

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  • Gammeltoft, Tine
  • Bui Thi Huyen Dieu
  • Vu Thi Kim Dung
  • Vu Duc Anh
  • Le Minh Hieu
  • Nguyen Thi Ai
This article asks: how can the concept of existential vulnerability help us to comprehend the human impact of chronic disease? Across the globe, the prevalence of chronic health conditions is rising dramatically, with wide-ranging consequences for human lives. Taking type II diabetes in northern Vietnam as its ethnographic case, this study explores how chronic health conditions are woven into everyday lives, altering subjectivities and social relations. Applying the notion of existential vulnerability as its analytical prism, the article explores three different dimensions of vulnerability: physical, emotional, and social. The analysis highlights the importance of a focus on social connectedness for comprehending the everyday impact of chronic disease and for the development of health care interventions in this domain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnthropology & Medicine
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)271-288
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Chronic disease, diabetes, emotion, existential vulnerability, Vietnam

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