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Narratives of Emotion and Anxiety in Medical Tourism: on State of the Heart and Larry's Kidney

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This paper explores the emotional geographies of State of the Heart and Larry's Kidney—two nonfiction narratives about medical tourism wherein American patients and their caregiver companions travel abroad for life-saving surgeries. The paper has two main goals: first, to illustrate the importance of emotional geographies in medical tourists' lived experiences of travel and tourism, as well as the giving and receiving of transnational health care and second, to generate empirical, theoretical, and methodological discussions between geographical, travel, tourism, and health studies on the relevance of emotional geographies. Medical tourists' experiences of travel and health care have been usually examined as spatially distinct rather than as entwined phenomena. We address the above goals by discussing how the narratives of traveling thousands of miles to a radically different socio-cultural milieu in order to receive essential medical care produce two interrelated emotional geographies: first, they demonstrate the existence of ‘emotional amplification’ (increase in the intensity of emotions) and ‘emotional extensivity’ (increase in the range of emotions) and second, they show how anxiety is underpinned by proximity to Otherness, uncertain boundaries, and isolated decision making. We conclude by briefly addressing how our examination of these narratives can be usefully expanded.
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Paul Kingsbury , Valorie A. Crooks , Jeremy Snyder , Rory Johnston & Krystyna Adams
(2012) Narratives of emotion and anxiety in medical tourism: on State of the Heart and Larry's Kidney , Social
& Cultural Geography, 13:4, 361-378, DOI:
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Social & Cultural Geography
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Narratives of Emotion and Anxiety in Medical Tourism: on State of the Heart and Larry's Kidney
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