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October 2021

Narratives of pain in later life and conventions of storytelling

Journal/Book: J Aging Stud. 1999; 13: 100 Prospect St, PO Box 811, Stamford, CT 06901, USA. Jai Press Inc. 73-87.

Abstract: In this article, I discuss conventions of storytelling by drawing on two accounts of the experience of chronic pain that challenged my hearing.(1) To engage with these accounts and to reflect on my hearing/reading practices I use narrative analysis. Narrative analysis acknowledges the way; people tell their stories as integral to the meaning they convey. But definitions of narrative are often linear and causal and are closely linked to the conventions of storytelling that are dominant in our culture. Recognising that link enables the listener/reader to go beyond; to follow disjointed chaotic accounts that are not easy to hear, and to situate speakers within or outside of dominant discourses. I argue that such a hearing contributes to an understanding of the self that provides an alternative to the modernist idea of an autonomous, self-controlled and independent individual, an alternative that values the lives and narratives of older people.

Note: Article Becker B, King Alfreds Coll, Sch Hlth & Community Studies, Winchester SO22 4NR, Hants, ENGLAND

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