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Publication - Professor Gene Feder

    Disrupted breath, songlines of breathlessness

    an interdisciplinary response


    Malpass, A, Dodd, J, Feder, G, McGuire, C, Mcnaughton, J, Rose, A, Williams, T & Carel, H, 2019, ‘Disrupted breath, songlines of breathlessness: an interdisciplinary response’. Medical Humanities.


    Health research is often bounded by disciplinary expertise. Whilst cross –disciplinary collaborations are often forged, the analysis of data which draws upon more than one discipline at the same time is underexplored. Life of Breath, a five year project funded by the Wellcome Trust, to understand the clinical, historical and cultural phenomenology of the breath and breathlessness brings together an inter-disciplinary team, including medical humanities scholars, respiratory clinicians, medical anthropologists, medical historians, cultural theorists, artists and philosophers. Whilst individual members of the Life of Breath team come together to share ongoing work, collaborate and learn from each others approach, we also had the ambition to explore the feasibility of integrating our approaches in a shared response to the same piece of textual data. In this article we present our pluralistic, inter-disciplinary analysis of an excerpt from a single cognitive interview transcript with a COPD patient. We discuss the variation in the responses and interpretations of the data; why research into breathlessness may particularly benefit from an interdisciplinary approach; and the wider implications of the findings for inter-disciplinary research within health and medicine.

    Full details in the University publications repository