19 January 2022

The Force of Love: Type II Diabetes in Vietnam as Tentatively Transformative Experience

Professor Tine Gammeltoft contritubed to ETHOS - Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology with the article 'The Force of Love: Type II Diabetes in Vietnam as Tentatively Transformative Experience'. 

In Vietnam, as in many other countries across the world, type II diabetes is attaining epidemic proportions. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Vietnam's Thái Bình province, this article highlights the affective complexities that arise when people strive to adjust to a life with this chronic, debilitating disease.

While finding their daily existence radically altered, people with diabetes also actively resisted transformation, insisting on the continuity of their lives. This resistance to transformation was, the research revealed, fueled by the force of love: when their disease threatened to place them at the margins of family and community, people responded by enacting love, striving to attend to others as they always had.

This study from Vietnam illustrates how transformative experiences may be characterized by hesitation, reluctance, and resistance, as people work against change while at the same time ambivalently embracing it.

Citation
Gammeltoft, T.M. (2021), The Force of Love: Type II Diabetes in Vietnam as Tentatively Transformative Experience. Ethos, 49: 329-347. https://doi.org/10.1111/etho.12317

Open access
The article is open access and available at AnthroSource: https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/etho.12317