Is Pain a Human Universal? A Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Perspective on Pain

Date

2012

Authors

Wierzbicka, Anna

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Sage Publications Inc

Abstract

Pain is a global problem whose social, economic, and psychological costs are immeasurable. It is now seen as the most common reason why people seek medical (including psychiatric) care. But what is pain? This article shows that the discourse of pain tends to suffer from the same problems of ethnocentrism and obscurity as the discourse of emotions in general. Noting that in the case of pain, the costs of miscommunication are particularly high, this article offers a new paradigm for communicating about pain. It shows how the use of natural semantic metalanguage (NSM) techniques developed in linguistic semantics can help in this area, as in other areas concerned with human subjectivity, and can lead to a greater understanding between psychologists, psychiatrists, medical practitioners, social workers, and ordinary suffering mortals.

Description

Keywords

Keywords: clinical psychology; cross-cultural perspective; cross-linguistic perspective; emotions; miscommunication; NSM techniques; pain

Citation

Source

Emotion Review

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1177/1754073912439761

Restricted until

2037-12-31