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Title:Ascribed and Acquired Identities: Women's Collective Renegotiation of Social and Personal Identity Following Brain Injury
Author(s):Stewart, John Eric
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rappaport, Julian
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy
Abstract:This study examines eleven women's accounts of recovery from and living with brain injury. It is a qualitative depth interview and semi-ethnographic study methodologically grounded in interpretive interactionism and narrative theory. The broad focus is on the ways and contexts in which these women negotiate the process of re-authoring identity and identifications following their injuries. Of specific interest is the role of narratives---personal, communal and "metaphysical"---in locating, creating, modifying and/or rejecting forms and forums of identity and community. The narrative interest foregrounds questions about the interrelationships between identity (both pre- and post-injury identities), contexts and communities, and the intersections and dilemmas of narratives. How do the women come to narrative resolution of an opposition between self and disabled body and brain, between self and the cultural and local discourses and practices that define being brain injured, and between self and the challenges to meaning and sensibility that brain injury invokes? The study design was collaborative, multistaged and iterative. Analysis was thematic and primarily followed an interpretive biographical method, however narrative, epiphanic and critical theory approaches were also employed, with the aim of understanding the intersections of personal experience with social settings, practices, policies and discourses. Results are presented using lengthy excerpts from the women's own accounts and are organized around four major themes: (1) The culture of formal rehabilitation and how it does and does not facilitate understanding and living with disability; (2) coming to identify with a disability community and find a place within it; (3) spirituality and religion as means of negotiating meaning for the injury and chronic disability; and, (4) the importance of texts, films, and electronic communications for identifying and maintaining community. The concluding discussion emphasizes the centrality of heterogeneity in understanding brain injury recovery and in studying and creating resources and settings for recovery from and living with brain injury.
Issue Date:2002
Description:217 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3070446
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2002

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