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Narrative and the Cultural Construction of Illness and Healing$
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Cheryl Mattingly and Linda Garro

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520218246

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520218246.001.0001

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Strategic Suffering

Strategic Suffering

Illness Narratives as Social Empowerment among Mexican Cancer Patients

Chapter:
(p.88) Four Strategic Suffering
Source:
Narrative and the Cultural Construction of Illness and Healing
Author(s):

Cheryl Mattingly

Linda C. Garro

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520218246.003.0004

This chapter views illness narratives as guides to present and future actions, specifically through the refashioning of social roles in local cultural worlds. It draws on fieldwork with Mexican cancer patients and studies the illness narratives of two Mexican cancer patients who have had surgery where part of their reproductive systems were removed. This chapter connects the strategic construction of illness narratives with the reconstruction of gender roles, a process that effectively transformed suffering into a social asset, and role destruction into a chance for personal empowerment.

Keywords:   illness narratives, social roles, Mexican cancer patients, gender roles, reconstruction, suffering, social asset, role destruction, personal empowerment

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