Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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270 pages
6 x 9 inches
March 2008
Print ISBN: 9780889614642


An attempt to stimulate discussion and debate, Dissonant Disabilities emphasizes that analyses of disability must take gender into account.

This much-needed collection of original articles invites the reader to examine the key issues in the lives of women with chronic illnesses. The authors explore how society reacts to women with chronic illness and how women living with chronic illness cope with the uncertainty of their bodies in a society that desires certainty. Additionally, issues surrounding women with chronic illness in the workplace and the impact of chronic illness on women's relationships are sensitively considered.

Distinct from books on this topic that adopt a medical or self-help perspective, this collection invites the reader to examine key issues in the lives of women with chronic illnesses, including shame, blame, and power imbalances in family, work, and education. The authors explore how society reacts to women with chronic illnesses and how these women cope with the uncertainty of their bodies in a society that desires certainty. This text continues to be popular for courses in disability studies, women’s studies, and sociology of health and gender.

Table of Contents


Introduction - Diane Driedger and Michelle Owen

Part One: Clashing Expectations
Water Wearing on a Stone: The Role of Shame in the Social Construction of Chronic Illnesses - Charlotte Caron

The Complexities of Negotiating Power under Conditions of Chronic Illness - Mary Delaney and Sandra Bell

Crazy Talk: A Dialogue between Two Young Women about Depression - Mandy Fraser and Jennifer Matwee

The Social Construction of Doubt: Women's Accounts of Uncertainty and Chronic Illness - Sheilagh Grills and Scott Grills

Part Two: Unpredictable Bodies
The Emergence of Body Image Dissatisfaction among Women in Singapore - Maho Isono

What's Eating You? A Feminist's Chronic Struggle with Anorexic Identity - Morgan Gresham

Listening to the Body: Women with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Talk about Illness and the Body - Debra A. Swoboda

This Is Not Going to Control My Life: Young and Living with Fibromyalgia - Amy Chow

Part Three: Disturbing Work
The Personal is Pedagogical/The Pedagogical is Personal - Ruth Roach Pierson

There Always Seems to Be Excuses: A Grad Student's Narrative of Autoimmunity - Julie Devaney

A Delicate Balance: Chronic Conditions and Workspace - Nancy E. Hensen

Part Four: Shifting Relationships
Chronic Non-malignant Pain: A Queer Woman's Journey through Relationships and Healing - Corinne Stevens

Working Together: Women with Musculoskeletal Illnesses Interacting with Health Care Providers - S. Michelle Driedger, Carrie Sanders, Cindy Gallois, Maree Boyle, and Nancy Santesso

Circle of Care: Transitioning through One Woman's Experience of Breast Cancer - Barbara A. Brown

Part Five: Traversing Dissonance
Recovery and Power: Living with Bipolar Disorder - J. Karen Reynolds

Living Well (with Cancer): Lessons Learned from Dragon-Boat Racers - Terry L. Mitchell, Franci Finkelstein, Eleanor Nielsen, and Christina Yakiwchuk

Signalling Invisibility, Risking Careers? Caucusing as an SOS - Katherine Teghtsoonian and Pamela Moss

Notes from Bed: Learning from Chronic Illness - Susan Wendell

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