Uncertainty, Vulnerability, and Isolation: Factors Framing Quality of Life with Aphasia in a South African Township

  • Carol LeggEmail author
  • Claire Penn
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 52)


Research into quality of life with aphasia has predominantly drawn on a universalist framework of understanding of quality of life that has entrenched disembodied constructions of society in the literature. In this chapter, we present a different perspective. We explore case study material from an ethnographic study of a small group of adults living with aphasia in a township on the outskirts of Cape Town marked by poverty and a language and culture that differ from the setting of most rehabilitation services in South Africa, to show how broader social and cultural processes shape the experience of aphasia and frame quality of life issues. For the group of adults in our study, uncertainty, vulnerability, and isolation emerged as overarching themes, highlighting the value in exploring contextually related challenges of life for adults living with aphasia in the effort to situate the experience of aphasia within the framework of quality of life.


Traditional Healing Community Health Center Disability Grant Brick House Child Support Grant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study that we describe in this chapter constituted Carol Legg’s doctorate and was partly funded by the Medical Research Council of South Africa. We thank Lenore Manderson for her helpful comments on an earlier version of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, School of Human and Community DevelopmentUniversity of the WitwatersrandCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, School of Human and Community DevelopmentUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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