(In)visible embodiment: Somali perspectives of diabetes and mental health in diaspora
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Somalis represent the largest consecutively displaced and resettled group in the United States yet, little is known about their experiences with and perceptions of illness in diaspora. In this research project I examine how Somalis’ understandings of the body and embodiment shape perceptions of diabetes and mental health. In addition, I ask how are the effects of migration and diaspora embodied among Somalis in Boston? To answer these research questions, I developed a qualitative study among Somali Muslims in Boston. I utilized information from semi-structured interviews (n=6), informal interviews (n=4), and participant observation at a local mosque from March 2015 to March 2016. I argue that for Somalis, diaspora is embodied through: bodily practices based on fluid and complex body ideals and values, food ritual and practices of consumption, and chronic physical health and mental health issues resulting in culturally relevant somatic explanatory models.