Stories to tell? reflexive (dis)engagements and (de)legitimized selves

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Abstract

This article aims to tell a story about the politics of storytelling and the complexity of care. But it is not (completely) a "good" story: It is frayed in its unraveling, and its characters are on edge, in their varied states of disbelief, and misbelief. And an authorial ambivalence exists about its depth, reach and significance, about whether the pronounced pain does justice to a particular methodological approach and to a specific set of sociological-and personal-concerns. The positions of storyteller, sociologist, and granddaughter are navigated in relating an account of my grandmother's (mis)positioning as Alzheimer's "patient," as "senile," and "unknowing." My grandmother is unable to tell her story, on the academic page and in medicalized (read "authoritative," "reasoned," "capable") knowledge constructions. So, inspired by Stewart's question, "How do I remember you?" this article aims to give attention to how "memories," and opportunities for reflexive engagement and voice, are structured, even negated, within institutional frameworks. Claims to ownership risk the perpetuation of (louder) voices, again raising issues of whose "stories" count? Navigating this, the author aims to inspire the telling of more stories in order to drive theoretical and methodological investigation into the meaning of exchanges: institutional, intimate, reported, and narrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-641
Number of pages9
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Volume16
Issue number8
Early online date2 Jul 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's
  • care
  • memories
  • reflexivity
  • stories

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