Touching From a Distance: Nursing and Carnal Hermeneutics


  • Graham McCaffrey University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing



hermeneutics, carnal hermeneutics, nursing, mental health


Carnal hermeneutics represents a new development in hermeneutic thinking, extending Merleau-Ponty’s work on embodiment. It is potentially useful for applied hermeneutics in nursing, which is a discipline of caring for and with bodies. In this paper, I take up key essays by Richard Kearney and Brian Treanor that establish themes in carnal hermeneutics, exploring them in relation to nursing. In the first part, I focus on medical nursing using an example from a student nurse’s practice to look at some of characteristics of nursing using a carnal hermeneutics lens. In the second part, the focus is on mental health nursing, considering how Treanor’s field of “new realism(s)” can help to give a fuller account of the physicality inherent in what has become conventionally separated off as “mental” health.


Author Biography

Graham McCaffrey, University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing

Associate Professor


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