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Energizing the Ordinary: Biographical Work and the Future in Stroke Recovery Narratives

Faircloth CA, Rittman MR, Boylstein CA, Van Puymbroeck. Energizing the Ordinary: Biographical Work and the Future in Stroke Recovery Narratives. Journal of Aging Studies. 2004 Sep 29; 18(4):399-413.

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Historically, the life course has been constructed as an organized and linear temporal progression. This holds true in various disciplines from education, to psychology, to counseling. The foundation of a life unfolding through temporal categorizations is documented in textbooks and theories that straddle these disciplines as well as many others, including the sociology of health and illness, which has often conceptualized the illness experience as embedded in a recovery trajectory. Here, we take this to task. Using Gubrium and Holstein's [Sociol. Inq. 65 (1995) 207; Gubrium, J., and Holstein, J., (1997). The new language of qualitative method. New York: Oxford University Press] analytic vocabulary of biographical work, we analyze narratives of stroke survivors by emphasizing the ordinary resources used as discursive foundations for the narrative production of the future in illness. Ordinary resources focused on include God and spirituality, comorbidities, and activity and leisure. The discussion is embedded in overarching concerns with 'healthy aging' in gerontology and geriatrics.

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