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Stitching Together Past and Present: Narratives of Biographical Reconstruction During Chronic Illness

Reynolds, Frances (2002) Stitching Together Past and Present: Narratives of Biographical Reconstruction During Chronic Illness. In: Narrative, Memory and Life Transitions. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 127-135.

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      Many studies have noted that a strong sense of biographical disruption can
      follow the onset of chronic illness. There has been limited research into
      people’s ways of managing this disruption in the longer term. This study
      elicited life narratives from four women, who had experienced serious chronic
      illness (such as cancer) for at least four years. The women joined the study
      because they had identified themselves as discovering creative occupations
      (such as textile arts) in the aftermath of diagnosis. Their narratives revealed
      how creativity had become central to their subjective well-being, and physical
      resilience. Their accounts document how immersion in creative occupations
      permitted strong connections to be forged between former and current
      identities, repairing the initial disruption that had been experienced, and
      facilitating a strong sense of ability rather than impairment. The narratives in
      which discovery of the creative occupation are described are often marked by
      humour. This paper explores the multiple meanings that humour may serve in
      the women’s responses to the interview, and the choices that may be made
      during narrative analysis. The participants appear, on the surface, to be living
      very different lives from those that they had enjoyed when healthy, but their
      accounts make strong connections between present and past roles, abilities and
      interests, demonstrating a sense of biographical continuity.

      Item Type: Book Chapter
      Additional Information: Copyright for chapters remain with individual authors at all times and permission should be sought from the author for any reproduction other than for personal use.
      Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
      H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
      B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
      Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences > Narrative and Memory Research Group > Narrative and Memory Research Group Annual Conference
      School of Human and Health Sciences
      Related URLs:
      Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
      Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2009 10:03
      Last Modified: 30 Jul 2010 14:19


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