Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 135–156

Illness and Autobiographical Work: Dialogue as Narrative Destabilization

  • Arthur W. Frank

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005411818318

Cite this article as:
Frank, A.W. Qualitative Sociology (2000) 23: 135. doi:10.1023/A:1005411818318


Illness is an occasion for autobiography, and memoirs of illness present openings to ethical ways of living. This work describes illness memoirs as performative, creating the self they claim as their origin. The self that is claimed is dialogical, and the tension of this dialogue is to include the voices of others without assimilating these voices to one's own. Physician memoirs, a spiritual autobiography, and a web site are presented as examples of dialogical autobiographical work occasioned by illness.

autobiography identity illness self 

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur W. Frank
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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