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The 'work' of visually impaired people: emplotting the self in order to transform others

Dall'Anese, Annamaria; (2021) The 'work' of visually impaired people: emplotting the self in order to transform others. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis outlines how blind and partially sighted people in an English metropolis therapeutically emplot, i.e. narratively reframe their lives in the face of sight loss, whether adventitious or congenital. It shows how such emplotment, which often leads them to incorporate their disability into their lives, requires multiple forms of narrative ‘work’: joining the visually impaired community, finding a new meaning in one’s life and, importantly, in one’s professional life are all consuming but ultimately rewarding activities in the transformational journeys of people with sight loss. I argue that my participants’ therapeutic emplotment, which is always precarious, is strengthened by the fact that it can function as a model for other people’s emplotment and that it is co-constructed. By demonstrating what they have achieved in their lives in spite of, or even thanks to, their sensory loss, visually impaired people can spread to others the same wish for self-improvement. Crucially, seeing the positive repercussions their spoken or unspoken narratives have on others reinforces the newly recrafted personal stories by which they orient their lives. This thesis offers an alternative voice to the medical anthropology literature that couples disability with reduced employability and distress. It also develops the concept of therapeutic emplotment by suggesting that it can be co-constructed and that it can have an influence on other people’s narrativization of their own lives.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The 'work' of visually impaired people: emplotting the self in order to transform others
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129784
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