Living with Brain Injury: Narrative, Community, and Women's Renegotiation of Identity

By J. Eric Stewart | Go to book overview

Coda

Just because it was a constantly repeated fact, this relation-
ship of forces did not become anymore acceptable. The fact
was not accepted as a law, even if it remained inescapably a
fact. Trapped in dependency, forced to submit to the facts,
this conviction is nevertheless opposed to the statutory fact
of an order presenting itself as natural, a goal of non-accep-
tance, and to its fatality, an ethical protest.
de Certeau, 1984, 16, emphasis in original

People with brain injury are most often spoken about by others, in the terms of others and in relation to the concerns and interests of others. Whether as intention or effect, the perspectives and vocabularies— just the third person-ness—of these representations problematize and exclude those of whom they speak. This book has been, then, a project of “narrative retrieval” to re-present the identities, strategies, and relationships that ten women with brain injury were creating (GarlandThomson, 2005). If it has been successful, these women were present as agents engaged in social action on a variety of fronts. Rather than things to be managed or problems to solved, these women are creative—if encumbered and shifting—authors of self, meaning, and relationships. It is, after all, the women, not their “service providers,” who must create and live their lives and who must negotiate disability.

The second aim of this book has been to contribute to a “resymbolization” (Eiesland, 1994) of brain injury and disability more broadly, to foreground the need for a “different discourse” (or discourses) for living with brain injury. In the long run the marginalization, disqualification, and embarrassment—in fact the processes of subjectification—imposed by culture were more disabling for these women than were their impairments. The struggles were personal, in the sense that

-216-

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Living with Brain Injury: Narrative, Community, and Women's Renegotiation of Identity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - People and Methodology 25
  • 2 - Meeting Post-Injury 52
  • 3 - Oneself as Another 82
  • 4 - Fighting 98
  • 5 - Sense (and Sensibility) of Community 137
  • 6 - Wrestling with An Angel 175
  • Coda 216
  • Appendix - Brief Summary of Participants’ Demographics and Injuries 225
  • References 227
  • Index 239
  • About the Author 247
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