Distance and proximity are concepts par excellence to describe what may happen in times of illness and suffering. When one faces distress and suffering the need of proximity of the sick or suffering person may manifest itself or - the opposite - a need of distance exists. A doctor or an anthropologist may believe proximity is necessary, but the other can disagree. Illness raises questions for all individuals. The sick individual will question his/her relationship with others and being-in-the-world. The authors of this volume take up issues of distance and proximity in illness and suffering in various situations. The papers were first discussed in a workshop texteditFacing distress. Distance and proximity in times of illness at the 8th Biennial EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists) conference in Vienna in September 2004.