At the age of two I put ballet shoes on for the first time. At eleven I began touring with performance groups. By age twelve, I knew how to dance through broken toes and fractures.
I considered myself a performer, and after years training as a classical ballerina I expanded into stunting and tumbling. While on tour, I developed friendships and bonds with dancers strengthened by a mutual love for dance, a commonality over the pain our bodies endured daily, and conversations on bruised and broken toes.
Within my second month touring, I recognized another type of bond, particularly amongst ballerinas; an unspoken bond that is seemingly taboo to discuss within the performance industry. As a result of the intense lifestyle and expectations of the role of a ballerina, drug use is accepted and even encouraged in some social settings.
In looking toward my Ph.D. studies, I am interested in studying a world where drug use and the rationalization of drug use, especially amongst elite groups like ballerinas, are a part of everyday behavior and activities.
In a compare contrast study of clinical chronic pain patients and professional ballerinas, I plan to research the ways in which chronic pain and use of prescribed and illicit drugs (cocaine and opioids) are rationalized, stigmatized, and or given moral value. A side-by-side study of these two drastically unique groups is necessary to identify how particular social factors, and the context of these factors, ascribes particular meaning (good or bad) to chronic pain, drug use, and ultimately the individual attached to either or.
There exists rich and extensive literature on pharmaceutical use, chronic pain, morality, and the relationships create...
... middle of paper ...
...ial Theory and Ethnography course.
Also, I will benefit from the cross-disciplinary training while at UNC-Chapel Hill: drawing on resources from the department of social medicine and the school of public health to strengthen my study that is biological, social, cultural, and political in nature.
I hope to work with medical anthropologist Mara Buchbinder, whose work in studying chronic pain patients in a clinical setting will help me in my study of similar subjects and in utilizing similar methods. Jocelyn Chua, whose current work overlaps with my interests in pharmaceutical use, will be helpful to the drug component of my study. And Michele Rivkin-Fish, for her interests in health inequalities, which will provide an interesting approach to analyzing the ways in which the rationalization and morality of drug use are a part of a larger theme of inequality in health.
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