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ERIC Number: EJ856938
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0090-9882
Narratives as Dialogic, Contested, and Aesthetic Performances
Harter, Lynn M.
Journal of Applied Communication Research, v37 n2 p140-150 May 2009
Dr. Pete Anderson, a clinician and professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, entered the life of Anna and her family two years ago. Anna was referred to him because of his clinical research and expertise in pediatric oncology and multimodality therapies. Anna had been diagnosed with metastatic Ewing's Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer initially localized on one of her legs. Dr. Anderson facilitated Anna's treatment including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and for a year her cancer was in remission. Although dramatic improvements in survival have been achieved for adolescents with Ewing's Sarcoma, survivors require close follow-up because side-effects from therapy may persist or develop months or years after treatment and the incidence of recurrence remains high. Dr. Anderson never describes his work as narrative medicine. Even so, he embodies the narrative sensibilities advocated in the groundbreaking work of Dr. Rita Charon entitled "Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness." Dr. Anderson acknowledges that humans reach for storytelling when trying to make sense of expectations gone awry. For Anna, Ewing's Sarcoma is a corporeal and social threat to her previously imagined life course. In this essay, the author weaves between her encounters with Dr. Anderson and the groundbreaking work of Dr. Charon to illustrate the value of narrative theory and methods for the way people study, talk about, organize around, and otherwise perform health and health care. She offers an understanding of narratives as dialogic, contested, and aesthetic performances. Along the way, the author joins other scholars committed to fostering alternative logics for organizing healthcare resources, and poses questions and concerns to guide future inquiry and practice. (Contains 1 figure and 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A