An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the lifeworld changes experienced by people whose HIV narratives are published on the Terrence Higgins Trust website
University of Roehampton, London
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Living with a chronic illness like HIV has profound effects on individual lives. While some patient groups are well supported, resources available for HIV positive people have been decreasing in recent years. The 2017 HIV in the UK Report published an annual rise in new HIV infections amongst heterosexual people living in the West Midlands. Nevertheless, the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) website still offers a rich resource for anyone living with HIV in the UK. It offers online advice, online counselling, community forums, video andtranscribed HIV testimonials of people living with HIV.
This study will use a phenomenological approach to understand if HIV narratives published on the THT website can be used to understand what it is like to live with HIV. The concept of ‘lifeworld’ will be used together with close linguistic analysis to gain an in-depth understanding of people’s experiences of living with HIV. A person’s lifeworld is their subjective construction of reality, which he or she forms under the condition of his or her life circumstances (Finlay, 2009). It covers a number of domains as Ashworth’s (2003) six lifeworld themes demonstrate: selfhood (identify and sense of self), sociality (relationships with other people), embodiment (emotional and physical effects) temporality (past, present and future), spatiality (places they can go) and projection (beliefin themselves).In life-world a person’s consciousness is always directed at something in or about the world, which is why HIV was chosen as a point of focus in the analysis of illness narratives published on the THT website (Finlay, 2009).
Therefore, Ashworth’s (2003) phenomenological themes of lifeworld will be used together with analytical tools from linguistics (narrative, discourse analysis, appraisal theory) and social sciences (the cycle of change model, the psychosocial adjustment model, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model) to fully understand the positive life.This research has two aims. First, to develop of way of analysing lifeworld in terms of linguistic and sociological theory. Second, in doing so contribute to a phenomenological and linguistic/discursively-informed understanding of the epistemological concept of ‘lifeworld’ for positive people.