The Discourse of Stress: Individual Pathology or Communal Ritual

  • Sheila McNameeEmail author


This chapter explores the ways in which a constructionist emphasis on language and embodied activities draws attention to our own participation in maintaining and validating the discourse of stress and the concomitant evaluations that accompany it. The relational focus of the constructionist discourse offers various resources for creating ways of getting on together (Wittgenstein). Discursive options provide resources for action that move us beyond pathology to potential. These resources include specific ways of inviting others to appreciate alternatives, imagine the future, adopt their stories, coordinate multiple beliefs and views, create opportunities for different conversations, and embrace relational responsibility. She studies how such resources transform one’s professional life. Is stress something we “get” or “catch” or “become caught up in?” Or, is stress a way of talking? Our culture has accustomed us to a number of labels, categories, and diagnoses of deficit. We systematically face problems, or threats we might impose upon ourselves or others, or assessments that might affect our future.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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