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Narratives in Academic and Professional Genres

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Edited By Maurizio Gotti and Carmen Sancho Guinda

This book received the Enrique Alcaraz Research Award in 2015.

Through Narrative Theory, the book offers an engaging panorama of the construction of specialised discourses and practices within academia and diverse professional communities. Its chapters investigate genres from various fields, such as aircraft accident reports, clinical cases and other scientific observations, academic conferences, academic blogs, climate-change reports, university decision-making in public meetings, patients’ oral and written accounts of illness, corporate annual reports, journalistic obituaries, university websites, narratives of facts in legal cases, narrative processes in arbitration hearings, briefs, and witness examination accounts. In addition to exploring narration in this wide range of contexts, the volume uses narrative as a powerful tool to gain a methodological insight into professional and academic accounts, and thus it contributes to research into theoretical issues. Under the lens of Narratology, Discourse and Genre Analysis, fresh research windows are opened on the study of academic and professional interactions.

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MARCO DE MARTINO Illness Narratives: Gender and Identity in Patients’ Accounts - 319

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MARCO DE MARTINO Illness Narratives: Gender and Identity in Patients’ Accounts 1. Introduction Illness narratives are generally conceived as patients’ written and/or oral accounts about their illnesses and their effect on their lives. Both oral and written illness narratives help to configure and articulate experiences and events that change one’s life and its ‘prerequisites’ as a result of illness. Research on the forms and functions of illness nar- ratives burgeoned in the past twenty years. Frank (1995) suggests that this interest has to do with ill persons in late modernity wanting to have their own suffering recognized in its individual particularity. Illness (like other life events, such as divorce or infertility), interrupts lives that many individuals assume will be continuous, ordered, se- quential, and also raises questions about the sense and purpose of life in the world. Such interruption undermines established social roles and requires a complete re-evaluation and re-negotiation of the ‘self’, and it is likely that in such a reconstruction language plays a funda- mental role. The postmodern experience of illness begins when ill people challenge the reductionist and reifying view of medicine which de- humanizes patients into organs and pathologies, demanding to speak, rather than to be spoken for. In so doing, they acknowledge that their experience cannot be reduced to a medical chart and reclaim the im- portance and dignity of their voice. According to this view, the expe- riential world of chronic pain and illness can only be understood by individuals’ experience. Illness narratives (Good...

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