Theoretical Medicine

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 221–232 | Cite as

The collective representation of affliction: Some reflections on disability and disease as social facts

  • Alan Blum


A perspective is developed for approaching affliction as a social fact. Disability and disease are considered as two ways in which we suffer a disjunction which arises from the need to take initiative with respect to the inexorable, whether that means the mark of disability or the unconquerability of disease.

The story of affliction always raises and masks in certain respects the problem of suffering as the collective representation of our experience of subjectivity where that experience passes through the separateness of being marked to the singularity of being without hope.


Social Fact Collective Representation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arendt, H.: 1978, The Life of the Mind, Harcourt and Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  2. Blum, A.: 1982, ‘Victim, Patient, Client, Pariah: Steps in the Self-Understanding of the Experience of Suffering an Affliction’, Reflections — Canadian Journal of Visual Impairment.Google Scholar
  3. Blum, A. and McHugh, P.: 1984, Self Reflection in the Arts and Sciences, Humanities Press, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  4. Levinas, E.: 1969, Totality and Infinity, Dusquene University Press, Pittsburgh.Google Scholar
  5. Plato,: 1951 Phaedo, The Bobs-Merrill Company, Inc. Indianapolis.Google Scholar
  6. Sontag, S.: 1977 Illness as Metaphor, Vintage Books, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing CompanyD. Reidel Publishing Company 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Blum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyYork University Ross Bld.DownsviewCanada

Personalised recommendations