Illness Narrative and Self-Help Culture: Self-Help Writing on Age-Related Infertility

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

Both self-help books and illness narratives are motivated by an impulse to overcome a crisis and, simultaneously, to help others who suffer from similar conditions. In doing so, authors of self-help and illness narratives move in between polar opposites: they have both individual and collective motives, they have a desire to overcome uncertainty and achieve control and they negotiate the authority of experience versus the authority of expertise. This paper has two objectives: (1) It describes the intersections of illness life writing and self-help culture and traces the thematic, cultural and historical similarities. (2) It analyzes a selection of four autobiographical, U.S.-American self-help books on age-related infertility published between 1987 and 2009. In juxtaposing these books with research perspectives from self-help criticism and medical humanities, the paper suggests that the authors blur the boundaries between patient and expert in their attempts to achieve control over what is ultimately uncontrollable – the body. The paper closes with a reflection on how scientific discourses and the Quantified Self-movement influence self-help narratives on illness.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Life Writing
Vol/bind3
Sider (fra-til)19-41
ISSN1876-8156
StatusUdgivet - 2014
Udgivet eksterntJa

Fingeraftryk

self-help
illness
narrative
expertise
criticism
uncertainty
expert
discourse
experience

Citer dette

@article{0e2fbc860ebe45e6a211e02ffabf9bd4,
title = "Illness Narrative and Self-Help Culture: Self-Help Writing on Age-Related Infertility",
abstract = "Both self-help books and illness narratives are motivated by an impulse to overcome a crisis and, simultaneously, to help others who suffer from similar conditions. In doing so, authors of self-help and illness narratives move in between polar opposites: they have both individual and collective motives, they have a desire to overcome uncertainty and achieve control and they negotiate the authority of experience versus the authority of expertise. This paper has two objectives: (1) It describes the intersections of illness life writing and self-help culture and traces the thematic, cultural and historical similarities. (2) It analyzes a selection of four autobiographical, U.S.-American self-help books on age-related infertility published between 1987 and 2009. In juxtaposing these books with research perspectives from self-help criticism and medical humanities, the paper suggests that the authors blur the boundaries between patient and expert in their attempts to achieve control over what is ultimately uncontrollable – the body. The paper closes with a reflection on how scientific discourses and the Quantified Self-movement influence self-help narratives on illness.",
keywords = "autopathography, illness narrative, self-help, infertility",
author = "Anita Wohlmann",
year = "2014",
language = "English",
volume = "3",
pages = "19--41",
journal = "European Journal of Life Writing",
issn = "1876-8156",

}

Illness Narrative and Self-Help Culture : Self-Help Writing on Age-Related Infertility. / Wohlmann, Anita.

I: European Journal of Life Writing, Bind 3, 2014, s. 19-41.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Illness Narrative and Self-Help Culture

T2 - Self-Help Writing on Age-Related Infertility

AU - Wohlmann, Anita

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Both self-help books and illness narratives are motivated by an impulse to overcome a crisis and, simultaneously, to help others who suffer from similar conditions. In doing so, authors of self-help and illness narratives move in between polar opposites: they have both individual and collective motives, they have a desire to overcome uncertainty and achieve control and they negotiate the authority of experience versus the authority of expertise. This paper has two objectives: (1) It describes the intersections of illness life writing and self-help culture and traces the thematic, cultural and historical similarities. (2) It analyzes a selection of four autobiographical, U.S.-American self-help books on age-related infertility published between 1987 and 2009. In juxtaposing these books with research perspectives from self-help criticism and medical humanities, the paper suggests that the authors blur the boundaries between patient and expert in their attempts to achieve control over what is ultimately uncontrollable – the body. The paper closes with a reflection on how scientific discourses and the Quantified Self-movement influence self-help narratives on illness.

AB - Both self-help books and illness narratives are motivated by an impulse to overcome a crisis and, simultaneously, to help others who suffer from similar conditions. In doing so, authors of self-help and illness narratives move in between polar opposites: they have both individual and collective motives, they have a desire to overcome uncertainty and achieve control and they negotiate the authority of experience versus the authority of expertise. This paper has two objectives: (1) It describes the intersections of illness life writing and self-help culture and traces the thematic, cultural and historical similarities. (2) It analyzes a selection of four autobiographical, U.S.-American self-help books on age-related infertility published between 1987 and 2009. In juxtaposing these books with research perspectives from self-help criticism and medical humanities, the paper suggests that the authors blur the boundaries between patient and expert in their attempts to achieve control over what is ultimately uncontrollable – the body. The paper closes with a reflection on how scientific discourses and the Quantified Self-movement influence self-help narratives on illness.

KW - autopathography

KW - illness narrative

KW - self-help

KW - infertility

M3 - Journal article

VL - 3

SP - 19

EP - 41

JO - European Journal of Life Writing

JF - European Journal of Life Writing

SN - 1876-8156

ER -