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Disrupted Bodies: Experiencing the Newly Limited Body in Stroke

Faircloth CA, Rittman MR, Boylstein CA, Young ME. Disrupted Bodies: Experiencing the Newly Limited Body in Stroke. Symbolic Interaction. 2004 Mar 1; 27(1):71-87.

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This article explores the intersection of recovery and bodily practices among stroke survivors. Drawing upon the existing extensive body of literature on the socially constructed body, in general, in chronic illness, and in interactionist thought, bodily experience is focused on as a mechanism that informs stroke survivors' understanding and practices of everyday life in recovery. Through this exploration, we ask a central question - what practical mechanisms does the survivor employ to provide meaning to her or his newly disrupted body? Using data gathered from in-depth interviews with 51 stroke survivors post-discharge, we suggest that there are three specific bodily management and meaning-making technologies used by stroke survivors. These include the management of the body within a mind/body dualism as both a subjective and objective phenomenon, testing the body in everyday practice, and orienting to the body as a biographically informed phenomenon. In this final technique, Gubrium and Holstein's analytic vocabulary of 'biographical work' is utilized, providing a different orientation to narrative constructions of illness than commonly used in the study of health and illness as a biographically informed entity.

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