Representing experience - diversifying representation: blind and visually impaired men’s voice-centered narratives of self and identity in everyday life
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This research examines disabled men's identities and lived experiences from the perspective of blindness and visual impairment. The first objective is to represent disability, make it visible, with lived accounts that contextualise otherwise abstract interpersonal and social-structural experiences. The second objective is to diversify disability representation with experiences that are both common and ordinary and specific and unique to disability and sensory impairment. Two main questions are asked (1) What does it mean to be a disabled man in American culture, when masculinity and disability are constructed and represented as opposites? and (2) How are these meanings interpreted and experienced in the context of sensory impairment?. Three narratives are presented as case studies and interpreted using the Listening Guide, an application of voice-centered relational method (VCRM) adapted by Natasha Mauthner and Andrea Doucet. The remaining fourteen narratives are interpreted thematically and presented as such using Catherine Kohler Riessman’s application of thematic narrative analysis. My analyses are framed using Erving Goffman’s symbolic-interactionism and critical disability theory and make several important contributions to knowledge and practice including, but not limited to, the introduction of new concepts of impression and stigma management at the points of identity and sensory impairment; advanced theoretical understanding of the relationship between disability identity and disability social-structural experience; how impairment is implicated in these processes as a tether between them; and demonstrable application of a “transdisciplinary analytical approach” to narrative research.
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