Narrating Illness: Prospects and Constraints

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Narrating Illness: Prospects and Constraints


Edited by Joanna Davidson and Yomna Saber

Format: eBook (PDF)

Year: 2016

This volume grapples with the potentials and limitations of illness narratives as diverse cultural perceptions probe into those stories from literary, textual, empirical, ethnographic, historical, and personal bases.

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Telling the story of illness emerges from a landscape of pain, grief and loss, but its therapeutic value is indubitable. This volume grapples with the potentials and limitations of such narratives as diverse cultural perceptions and realities are granted the voice to probe into those stories from literary and textual material, as well as empirical, ethnographic, historical, and personal bases. Some of the chapters draw upon the capacity of storytelling to heal bodies and souls, whereas others provide an important corrective to this overwhelmingly optimistic portrayal by focusing on the limits of storytelling and narrative to address physical and psychic trauma. Despite the different approaches, what ties these chapters together is a more focused textual and contextual analysis of the intersection between forms of storytelling and sharing the experience of illness as studied and witnessed and sometimes even lived by the authors of the volume.

Introduction: Prospects of Storykind
Joanna Davidson and Yomna Saber

Part I Stories that Heal

Insider Stories from the Asylum: Peer and Staff-Patient Relationships
Verusca Calabria

Coming Home: A Journey to the Underworld
Alexandra Fidyk

From Normative to Deviant Behaviour: Health and Illness Definitions Related to Children and Adolescents’ Perspectives
Sofia Castanheira Pais, Isabel Menezes and João Arriscado Nunes

Spatial Notions and Illness
J.F. Matamoros-Sanin and Ingris Peláez-Ballestas

Narrative Medicine and Storytelling: An Alternative Method for Healing
Victorria Simpson-Gervin

AIDS Awakens Ancient Stories
Deborah Eve Freedman

Part II Co-Storytelling: Collaborative and Collective Approaches

‘One Eye Watching Our Backs’: New Zealand Therapists Share Personal Stories about Spiritual Practice
Peter Bray

Group Narratives of Trauma and Healing: Community Storytelling as a Critique of Individual ‘Talking Therapy’ amongst Survivors of Sexual Violence
Elena Sharratt

Supporting Wellbeing for People in Palliative Care: The Role of Sharing Stories for Wellbeing Life Story Workshops
Jane Youell, Alison Ward and Miranda Quinney

The Emergence of Metaphor through Co-Journaling during Terminal and Chronic Illness
Pam Morrison

Part III The Limits of Narrative Coherence

One Story among Many: Narrative Episodes and the Construction of Doctors’ Identities
Ana Maria Borlescu

Taming Age: An Inevitable Illness
Rasha Salah

Disability in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters: Narrating Pain and Healing Wounds
Yomna Saber

Part IV Invisible Pain

Sound Experience: Listening Session and Discussion on the Experience of Invisible Illness
Thembi Soddell

Group intervention for Women Suffering from Endometriosis, Held at the Center for Treatment of Endometriosis, Sheba Medical Center
Liat Mor and Yael Efrati

Narratives of an Invisible Social Suffering: Experiences of People with Fibromyalgia
Tirsa Colmenares-Roa and Ingris Peláez-Ballestas

Part V Stories and Subjects: Texts and Contexts

Life-Writing and the Disabled Self: Discourses on Subjectivity
Sandeep R. Singh

Towards an Ethnography of Narrative Competence: A Proposal
Joanna Davidson

The Story of Invading Microbes: Infection Literature
Justyna Jajszczok

‘Back to Eden’ in 20th Century Europe: Monte Verità and Glastonbury, (Hi)stories from Two ‘Alternative’ Isles of Healing
Silvia Carnelli

Having the Voice of Depression: An Example of Pathographic Film Narratives on YouTube
Hans T. Sternudd

Postmillennial Cancer Narratives by Women: Negotiating Feminism and Postfeminism in Eve Ensler’s In the Body of the World
Marta Fernández-Morales

Joanna Davidson is an Assistant Professor of cultural anthropology at Boston University. In addition to a wide range of academic journal articles, she is the author of Sacred Rice: An Ethnography of Identity, Environment, and Development in Rural West Africa (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Yomna Saber is an Assistant Professor of English Literature at Qatar University. She is the author of Brave to Be Involved: Shifting Positions in the Poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks (Peter Lang, 2010) and has articles published in: Women’s Studies; Pacific Coast Philology; Journal of American Studies; and Journal of Lesbian Studies.