Strategic Suffering

Cheryl Mattingly and Linda C. Garro

in Narrative and the Cultural Construction of Illness and Healing

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780520218246
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935228 | DOI:
Strategic Suffering

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This chapter views illness narratives as guides to present and future actions, specifically through the refashioning of social roles in local cultural worlds. It draws on fieldwork with Mexican cancer patients and studies the illness narratives of two Mexican cancer patients who have had surgery where part of their reproductive systems were removed. This chapter connects the strategic construction of illness narratives with the reconstruction of gender roles, a process that effectively transformed suffering into a social asset, and role destruction into a chance for personal empowerment.

Keywords: illness narratives; social roles; Mexican cancer patients; gender roles; reconstruction; suffering; social asset; role destruction; personal empowerment

Chapter.  7691 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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