Patient Narratives and an Umwelten-Based Account of the More-Than-Human Ecology of Lyme Disease
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The posthuman turn in critical theory has paved the way for new perspectives on environmental and biomedical issues. Such phenomena include emergent infectious diseases such as Lyme disease, and the laboratory techniques and regulatory policies that are developed to address them. Using Jakob von Uexklls ecological theories of the umwelten and Arthur Franks dialogical narrative analysis approach to patients stories, I show that the mechanism of the disease itself challenges anthropocentric notions about boundaries of the self, agency and identity as physiological systems are attacked by the disease. I also reveal that the partiality of perspectives rooted in human objectivity and diagnostic tools often directly impact the prognosis and exacerbation of the disease. Finally, I explore a reconfiguration of the illness and cast new light on the boundaries between the human self and non-human others, and the increasingly suspect dichotomy nature and culture through the lens of this disease.