Claiming Center by Refusing Center: Women as Family Health/Illness Tellers in Appalachia

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Part of the presentation “Navigating Narrative: Women’s Complex Agency in Claiming Self and Family Wellness.” Communication and cross-disciplinary researchers have directed attention to the reciprocal influence of narrative with experiences of illness and wellness (e.g., Arthur Frank, Carolyn Ellis, Barbara Sharf, Patricia Geist-Martin, Lynn Harter, Art Bochner, Bud Goodall). Indeed, stories are increasingly the points of focus across a broad range of disciplines studying topics such as global health, marginalized communities and feminist standpoints, geriatric health/care, nursing experience, health message promotion, family caregiving, patient agency, holistic wellness, adolescent well-being, aging, and women’s reproductive health, among numerous others. Grounded in these interests, this panel looks at interconnections among gender, health/illness/well-being, and narrative, with particular attention to how women’s experiences of health and care influence and are influenced by the stories told by them and about them. Looking beneath what may be readily apparent, panelists examine well-being- and health-related narrative to identify variables of wellness that seem empowering but are not, appear disempowering but are not, look generic and broadly applicable but are not, and present as inevitable or despairing but are not.


San Francisco, CA

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