Disrupted Lives How People Create Meaning in a Chaotic World

ISBN-10: 0520209141
ISBN-13: 9780520209145
Edition: 1999
Authors: Gaylene Becker
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Description: Our lives are full of disruptions, from the minor--a flat tire, an unexpected phone call--to the fateful--a diagnosis of infertility, an illness, the death of a loved one. In the first book to examine disruption in American life from a cultural  More...

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Book details

List price: $31.95
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 9/1/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 276
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880

Our lives are full of disruptions, from the minor--a flat tire, an unexpected phone call--to the fateful--a diagnosis of infertility, an illness, the death of a loved one. In the first book to examine disruption in American life from a cultural rather than a psychological perspective, Gay Becker follows hundreds of people to find out what they do after something unexpected occurs. Starting with bodily distress, she shows how individuals recount experiences of disruption metaphorically, drawing on important cultural themes to help them reestablish order and continuity in their lives. Through vivid and poignant stories of people from different walks of life who experience different types of disruptions, Becker examines how people rework their ideas about themselves and their worlds, from the meaning of disruption to the meaning of life itself. Becker maintains that to understand disruption, we must also understand cultural definitions of normalcy. She questions what is normal for a family, for health, for womanhood and manhood, and for growing older. In the United States, where life is expected to be orderly and predictable, disruptions are particularly unsettling, she contends. And, while continuity in life is an illusion, it is an effective one because it organizes people's plans and expectations. Becker's phenomenological approach yields a rich, compelling, and entirely original narrative.Disrupted Livesacknowledges the central place of discontinuity in our existence at the same time as it breaks new ground in understanding the cultural dynamics that underpin life in the United States. FROM THE BOOK:"The doctor was blunt. He does not mince words. He did a [semen] analysis and he came back and said, 'This is devastatingly poor.' I didn't expect to hear that. It had never occurred to me. It was such a shock to my sense of self and to all these preconceptions of my manliness and virility and all of that. That was a very, very devastating moment and I was dumbfounded. . . . In that moment it totally changed the way that I thought of myself."

Acknowledgments
Mediating Disruption
Narratives as Cultural Documents
Order and Chaos
Metaphors as Mediators in Disrupted Lives
The Disordered Body
Personal Responsibility for Continuity
Living in Limbo
Creating Order out of Chaos
Healing the Body through the Mind
Metaphors of Transformation
Disruption and the Creation of Continuity
Appendix: About the Research
Notes
References
Index

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