Title

Narrativity in everyday activities of four women affected by chronic rheumatic diseases

Presenter Information

Sissel Alsaker
Staffan Josephsson

Start Time

26-10-2007 3:45 PM

End Time

26-10-2007 4:15 PM

Abstract

Narrative theory and methods are increasingly featured in qualitative research relating to human occupation, both according to stories told and stories created. In this ethnographic study, the researcher participated in the everyday activities of four women living with chronic rheumatic diseases, aiming at locating if and how narrativity, here understood as meaning making, took place in such activities. Narrative analyses were conducted, based on data from extensive field notes and reflective journals, together with theoretical resources regarding everyday occupations, chronic diseases and narrativity. The results of this hermeneutic interpretative process show how the actual doing of ordinary everyday occupations provided opportunities connected to several possible plots. The occupational encounters facilitated talk and interaction, characterized by fluctuations and crisscrossing between place, space and the sociality of the moment. Going shopping, having a coffee break, feeding the fire or clearing the dishwasher, provided links to significant issues in the participant’s lives. By doing such activities, the participants enacted the “if’s” of ordinariness, the still not configured stories, connected to their chronic conditions, their relationships, choices, womanhood, agency and politics. All this trying out or enactment through everyday occupations pointed towards several overall plots, like; living with a chronic disease felt like having an additional partner which one could not get rid of. Another possible plot was that they always had to do things in the moment when the body felt good, or the possibility would disappear due to symptoms of the disease. Also significant was never to know how and if one is as good as everyone else, as normality was not an option. These everyday enactments provided opportunities for the individual woman to tap into significant issues, but also to establish her own agency concerning how she chose to deal with them. Some issues could come close to a configured story, others were left open to future interpretation, and others stayed preconfigured. Such knowledge of everyday occupations as sources for possible meaning making or narrativity is valuable both for occupational science and occupational therapy by extending the understanding of everyday activities both conceptually and clinically.

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Oct 26th, 3:45 PM Oct 26th, 4:15 PM

Narrativity in everyday activities of four women affected by chronic rheumatic diseases

Narrative theory and methods are increasingly featured in qualitative research relating to human occupation, both according to stories told and stories created. In this ethnographic study, the researcher participated in the everyday activities of four women living with chronic rheumatic diseases, aiming at locating if and how narrativity, here understood as meaning making, took place in such activities. Narrative analyses were conducted, based on data from extensive field notes and reflective journals, together with theoretical resources regarding everyday occupations, chronic diseases and narrativity. The results of this hermeneutic interpretative process show how the actual doing of ordinary everyday occupations provided opportunities connected to several possible plots. The occupational encounters facilitated talk and interaction, characterized by fluctuations and crisscrossing between place, space and the sociality of the moment. Going shopping, having a coffee break, feeding the fire or clearing the dishwasher, provided links to significant issues in the participant’s lives. By doing such activities, the participants enacted the “if’s” of ordinariness, the still not configured stories, connected to their chronic conditions, their relationships, choices, womanhood, agency and politics. All this trying out or enactment through everyday occupations pointed towards several overall plots, like; living with a chronic disease felt like having an additional partner which one could not get rid of. Another possible plot was that they always had to do things in the moment when the body felt good, or the possibility would disappear due to symptoms of the disease. Also significant was never to know how and if one is as good as everyone else, as normality was not an option. These everyday enactments provided opportunities for the individual woman to tap into significant issues, but also to establish her own agency concerning how she chose to deal with them. Some issues could come close to a configured story, others were left open to future interpretation, and others stayed preconfigured. Such knowledge of everyday occupations as sources for possible meaning making or narrativity is valuable both for occupational science and occupational therapy by extending the understanding of everyday activities both conceptually and clinically.