How do we understand health in relation to society? What role does culture play in shaping our experiences of, and orientation to, health and illness? How do we understand medicine and medical treatment within a sociological framework?

Illness Narratives

Illness Narratives

Illness narratives
Mike BuryLee F. Monaghan

Illness narratives refer to the story-telling and accounting practices that occur in the face of illness. Narrative analysis seeks to understand the ‘plot’ of the account given and its social and motivational dimensions.

Human cultures are reproduced through myths and narratives, that is, in the construction and telling of stories. Narratives provide the opportunity for using metaphors and other linguistic devices to convey and produce shared meanings and construct social identities, especially in difficult or threatening circumstances. Narratives have considerable relevance in the experiential world of illness, pain, suffering, vulnerability, and uncertainty.

Those interested in illness narratives typically seek to understand and analyse the meanings produced in one cultural setting and communicate this knowledge to an audience in another setting, often ...

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