Date of Award
Elizabeth A. Suter, Ph.D.
Culture, Disability, Discourses
Understanding the meaning making of having an acquired physical disability still remains a mystery today. With more than 20 percent of our total population experiencing some form of disability, this study explores discourses of disability that emerge from participants' life stories. This study interviewed 20 participants using a modified version of McAdams' (1993) Life Story Interview Protocol. Utilizing Relational Dialectics Theory and a thematic discourse analysis, two primary discourses emerged from participant talk. (1) the biomedical discourse of disability and (2) the disability discourse of normalcy. The latter discourse can be broken down even further into (1) the sociolinguistic discourse of disability and (2) the biopolitical discourse of disability.
Called forth through language, these discourses provide a site of analysis to better understand the sense-making that persons with acquired physical disabilities experience as they try and understand what it means to have a disability. From these two discourses, an analysis of language choice sheds insight into meaning-making, while providing unique insight into researching this community.
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Grewe, Brian L. Jr., "Engaging the Brave and the Bold: Exploring the Discourses of Disability Through Life Stories" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1339.
Received from ProQuest
Brian L. Grewe Jr.