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Body, time, space and relationship in the music listening experiences of women with chronic illness

The meanings and experience of everyday music listening for women living with chronic physical illness were investigated.

  1. Jennifer J. Nicol

    1. UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA, [email protected]

Abstract

The meanings and experience of everyday music listening for women living with chronic physical illness were investigated. Multiple, in-depth interviews with six women, living with a diagnosed illness and identifying music listening as important in their life, provided a primary source of data. Analysis included a guided existential reflection and engagement in phenomenological writing. A key finding was the suggestion that to listen to music was to be in the company of a long-time companion who ultimately aided in coping with the unanticipated arrival of chronic illness. Further findings identified music listening as strongly embodied, ‘timeless’, ‘time-full’, ‘timetabled’, ‘time-encored’, and spatially freeing and comforting, which had positive experiential meanings in terms of living with chronic illness. These findings reveal something new about the phenomenon of listening to music in a particular context and invite further phenomenological inquiry, as well as investigation of music listening as a social process and the body’s role in identifying the ‘right’ music.

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