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Agency constructions in chronic illness narratives : a discourse analysis

Schlieper, Luca Marie (2022) Agency constructions in chronic illness narratives : a discourse analysis.

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Abstract:Living with a chronic illness has the potential to greatly influence an individual’s life and is frequently connected to physical barriers and limitations in many areas of an individual’s life. The loss of agency is a frequently experienced phenomenon by individuals with chronic illnesses. Agency, in the quantitative tradition, can be described as the ability to act. However, in discursive psychology as part of the qualitative tradition, agency is defined in terms of positioning oneself as an active and responsible agent in the own life. While previous research has investigated the agency of individuals with chronic illnesses, more insight is needed not only into what chronically ill individuals experience but also into how they express it in language. By taking a discursive approach toward agency, this research aims to gain insight into how individuals with chronic illnesses construct discursive agency positions as they narrate their experiences. For this, the 10DT Model (Toivonen et al., 2019a) is used which defines ten different discursive positions of nonagency and agency, of which the agentic side is explored, defined, and refined in this thesis. Based on 4 open question interviews conducted online and in person with German chronically ill individuals, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Crion, and Endometriosis, the different agency positions constructed in their life stories were identified and described.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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