‘Bucking and kicking’: race, gender and embodied resistance in healthcare

Yasmin Gunaratnam

in Biographical methods and professional practice

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9781861344939
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301554 | DOI:
‘Bucking and kicking’: race, gender and embodied resistance in healthcare

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This chapter examines how biographical approaches can be used to enrich intercultural and anti-discriminatory practices and the ways in which racialised identities can be reproduced and challenged within healthcare services. It uses the case study of Maxine, a black Jamaican service user. The chapter begins by outlining some of the limitations in current approaches to professional practice in multicultural contexts and makes explicit how biographical narratives might be used to address and overcome these limitations. It also presents an analysis centred upon biographical accounts of the physical care of Maxine. In this analysis, the chapter links themes in biographical accounts of gendered and racialised violence, reports of Maxine's anorexia nervousa, and portrayals of her anxiety about being touched, lifted and washed in while in the care of the hospice. This chapter looks at the interrelations of the body, emotional and social, and how these narrated, produced and performed in biographical accounts, contribute to the understanding of the complex relations between white staff and service users racialised as ethnic minorities. The chapter ends with a discussion on how biographical narratives may be used to connect different sites of experience and to gain insight on the racialised experience in health care.

Keywords: biographical approaches; intercultural practices; anti-discriminatory practices; racialised identities; healthcare services; biographical narratives; biographical accounts; gendered violence; racialised violence

Chapter.  6734 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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