Stress as Mediator between Social Formation and Occupational Illness: A Methodological Inquiry

Margarita Pulido Navarro, Ricardo Cuéllar Romero


The personal stories of individuals are not isolated from the social context in which they occur. They can only be understood and explained within given, concrete historical circumstances. Stories derive meaning from their historical context; individuals make sense of events from a subjectivity that comes from their own experiences in diverse social spaces and their diverse cultural backgrounds. The combination of both elements gives rise to a personal identity subject to historical transformation. In the course of their lifetimes, individuals design—and redesign—the meaning of past events. Institutions play a role in this process by ensuring that each individual has been prepared to be a functional member of society, to accept social norms, and to exercise self-control. It is important to understand how humans create meaning over the course of a lifetime, as this allows us to understand how historical processes impact individuals. Production processes affect both health and wellbeing. For example, prolonged stress can lead to chronic diseases. The personal story of Magaly, a seamstress, illustrates how experiences in diverse social spaces determined her perception of situations. Her story highlights the need for a methodology to describe this form of subjectivity which mediates between the social context and the individual responses which lead to suffering.

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Department of Family and Social Medicine
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