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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Nov 2023 - 17 Nov 2023


PLoS One




The legitimacy of pain according to sufferers.


García-Rodríguez MI, Biedma-Velázquez L, Serrano-Del-Rosal R


Pain is an unpleasant experience that we will all experience in some form over the course of our lives, with chronic pain affecting a significant proportion of the global population. Given these circumstances, this study investigates whether pain is a legitimated phenomenon and considers the processes involved in the creation of such a status. This is an exploratory investigation based on semi-structured interviews with people suffering from chronic pain as a consequence of physical, psychological, emotional, or social circumstances. Our principal objective is to explore the fundamental elements of legitimacy and the processes that bring it into being-i.e., to understand how it is socially constructed. The main finding, however, is that many sufferers of chronic physical, psychiatric/psychological, emotional and social pain perceive that their pain is not considered legitimate when no clear cause can be identified, when the pain prevents them from developing the norms imposed by social roles or when it inhibits them to make a productive contribution to the society in which they live. This is generally due to the disruptive aspect of pain and its impact on the social structure, specifically on productivity, which nowadays constitutes a key element in the legitimation of any social phenomenon.