PhD programme: Science, Technology, and Humanities
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University of Bologna
via Zamboni, 38
40126 Bologna, Italy
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About this site


Elisa Arnaudo

Elisa Arnaudo

PhD in Science, Technology, and Humanities, University of Bologna (2010-2013).


Office address:
CIS – Department of Philosophy and Communication
University of Bologna
Via Zamboni 38
40126 Bologna

Mobile phone: +39 3474430908


May 2013: PhD in Science, Technology and Humanities, University of Bologna. Dissertation topic: "Biomedicine and pain". Supervisors: Nazzarena Malavolta, MD (Rheumatology), Professor Roberto Brigati (Moral Philosophy). Discussant: Prof. Rachel Cooper, Lancaster University (Philosophy of Mind and Psychiatry).

March 2009: Laurea Magistrale, Theoretical philosophy, Philosophy of art and communication,focus on Epistemology and the Ethics of science, University Cà Foscari of Venice, Cum Laude. Dissertation topic: “Utopical death in the contemporary age: euthanasia” Supervisors: Professor Luigi Lentini (Epistemology and Ethics of science)Professor Fabrizio Turoldo (Bioethics).

October 2006: Laurea, Philosophy curriculum: Aesthetics, University of Bologna. Dissertation topic: “Norm, normality and normalization in Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem”. Supervisor: Professor Valerio Marchetti (Modern History).

July 2003: Diploma di Liceo Linguistico Europeo, Istituto S.Anna, Moncalieri (TO).


My major interest is the study of medicine, focused above all on its boundary lines.
I’m interested in the Philosophy, Epistemology, and Ethics of medicine, as well as in Medical Anthropology and Medical Sociology.

My BA thesis was an analysis of concept of norm between Foucault and Canguilhem, focusing on the definition of standards of normality, and the dynamics between normal and pathological. In my MA thesis I worked on medicine and death, particularly on the meaning of euthanasia’s request.

In my PhD research, I focused on the definition of pain as a “complex psychosomatic phenomenon”, the epistemological implications of this concept, and the consequences on medical practice. In particular, my study concentrated on the acknowledgment of chronic pain as a disease entity, and how persistent pain has been identified as a disease: Which disease conception this definition refers to? Which are the problematic issues of biomedical approach to chronic pain? Part of this work was an investigation of fybromialgic syndrome as a disease and the ways in which the complexity of this condition is approached theoretically and handled in the clinical practice. My study aimed at showing how several sources of knowledge on troublesome unexplained conditions interact between them: scientific theories, clinical knowledge and patients' experiences of illness.

I keep on working on fibromyalgic syndrome in a broader perspective (the MUS problem) and on the relationship between fibromyalgia and depression.

My approach to my object of research includes philosophical analysis, history of ideas and etnographic enquiry.

Member of PhiloMed (University of Bologna) and of CauseHealth Network (NMBU).

Conferences and talks

2015, 12-13 October, An introduction to the MUS problem: the case of fibromyalgic syndrome, CauseHealth Network meeting, NMBU, Oslo University (talk).

2013, 9 November, Thalassemia and Drepanocytosis: meeting with the experts, University of Verona, Verona Chronic illness and therapy.” (talk).

2012, 30 August – 1 September, Chronicity Conference, Mansfield College, OxfordPersistent pain as a pathological entity.” (talk).

2012, 17 February, Philosophy of Psychiatry workshop, Lancaster University, Lancaster, “Is Pain Disorder a valid classification?” (talk).

2011, 2-3 July, The language of illness and pain Conference, Birbeck College, London, “Medical discourse and chronic pain experience.” (talk).

2010, 1- 3 September, Concepts of Health and Illness Conference, UWE – Bristol, “Pain as illness: a new concept?” (talk).

Publications: chapters in books, articles

Arnaudo, E. 2016. “Dolore e medicina” Edizioni ETS (forthcoming).

Arnaudo, E. 2012. “Persistent pain as a pathological entity” in Richards, Creeck (eds.), Chronicity, care and complexity. Oxford: ebook publication, 199-208.

Arnaudo, E. 2012. “Pain as illness” in Carel, Cooper (eds.), Health, Illness and Disease. Philosophical Essays. Durham: Acumen Publishing, 143-157.

Arnaudo E., Moretti C., 2011. “Due progetti di ricerca unibo sulla syndrome fibromialgica”. Ilnotiziario de malato reumatico 34: 14-15.

Professional experience

Since 2009:

2015-today: Scholar at ISAL Foundation, Research and Education Institute in Pain Sciences, Rimini.

2015-today: Teacher of Italian and Philosophy, High School level, Bologna.

2013 - 2015: Collaboration with AMRER, Associazione dei Malati Reumatici dell’Emilia Romagna.

2010 - 2012: International exchange programs students tutor, Arts and Humanities Faculty, Bologna University.

2009: Assistant of the Director of Ikona Photo Gallery, Venice. Translation and production of texts.

Linguistic competences

Fluent in English, basic knowledge of French and German.

Computer skills



Reading, travelling, photography, discovering.