Please Be Patient examines the practice of haemodialysis and kidney transplantation, the two medical therapies available for persons with kidney failure, from a phenomenological perspective. A basic assumption being made is that contemporary biomedicine is deeply embedded in the cultural, historical, economic, and political circumstances provided by the particular local, national, and transnational contexts in which it is practiced. The aim of the investigation is twofold. On the one hand, the aim is to examine the forms of person- and patienthood enacted and negotiated in haemodialysis and kidney transplantation care and in the daily lives of persons with kidney failure. On the other hand, the aim is to investigate the ways in which the enacted and negotiated forms of personand patienthood are culturally embedded and normatively charged.
In order to examine and investigate this twofold aim, an empirical material has been gathered that comprises observations and in-depth interviews with patients and caregivers at four haemodialysis units, one in Riga, Latvia, and three in Stockholm, Sweden. The theoretical approach and methodology of the study is cultural and phenomenological in character, drawing on an ethnological and anthropological understanding of culture as processual and relational, and on a phenomenological understanding of personhood as embodied and intertwined with the surrounding world.
Martin Gunnarson is an ethnologist at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, and at the Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge, Södertörn University. Please Be Patient is his doctoral thesis.