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Open Access Interactioneel ongemak als gevolg van gezichtsverstijving bij mensen met de ziekte van Parkinson

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Interaction uneasiness of people with Parkinson’s disease .

Human beings not only speak but also express their thoughts and emotions through facial expressions. People also relate to each other in interaction by watching each other’s facial expressions. The face of people with Parkinson’s disease gradually rigidifies as a consequence of a lack of dopamine production in the brain.

This life story research with people with Parkinson’s disease shows that they appear to feel impeded in their interactions with others. In their stories, the informants show five signs of what Goffman labels as ‘interaction uneasiness’. Firstly, people with the disease themselves show difficulties with expressing their inner feelings and thoughts. Secondly, they perceive signs of uneasiness in others. Thirdly, they perceive uneasiness in their interactions. Fourthly, they perceive uneasiness in the eyes of third parties. And fifthly, they feel their face does not suit in the situation they are in.

In the life stories indications of three conditions of this uneasiness have been found. The primary condition is difference in labelling, either caused by the lack of a label for the unusual face, or the fear that others might interpret their rigidified facial expressions wrongly. The secondary condition is a lack of culture: lack of culture for the uncommon and lack of knowledge of the culture of Parkinson’s disease. The third condition is the minimal legitimation work undertaken by people with the disease.

As a consequence of the uneasiness in interaction, people with Parkinson’s disease are inclined to five different reactions: resistance, indifference, retreat from public interactional situations as well as feelings of exclusion and banishment.

Parkinson’s disease thus appears to be a threat to customary social life for people with the disease.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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