Human Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 399–421 | Cite as

Diabetes, Chronic Illness and the Bodily Roots of Ecstatic Temporality

  • David Morris
Research Paper


This article studies the phenomenology of chronic illness in light of phenomenology’s insights into ecstatic temporality and freedom. It shows how a chronic illness can, in lived experience, manifest itself as a disturbance of our usual relation to ecstatic temporality and thence as a disturbance of freedom. This suggests that ecstatic temporality is related to another sort of time—“provisional time”—that is in turn rooted in the body. The article draws on Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception and Heidegger’s Being and Time, shedding light on the latter’s concept of ecstatic temporality. It also discusses implications for self-management of chronic illness, especially in children.


Adherence Body Chronic illness Compliance Diabetes Ecstatic temporality Merleau-Ponty Heidegger Being and Time Phenomenology Improvisation 



Versions of parts of this paper were presented at the International Conference of the Merleau-Ponty Circle: Body and Institution, George Mason University, October 2006 and Health Studies Day 2007, Trent University. I would like to thank audience members for their questions and enthusiasm. I would also like to thank Emilia Angelova and the anonymous reviewers at Human Studies for helpful criticisms of earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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