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Exploring an individual’s experience of disfigurement: a narrative analysis

Wilson, Rosie (2012) Exploring an individual’s experience of disfigurement: a narrative analysis. Leeds Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Adopting a thematic narrative approach this study explores Katie Piper’s story of acquired disfigurement and how the experience affected her sense of self and identity. The research employed dual perspective ‘big’ and ‘small’ narrative approach. The ‘big’ narrative demonstrated the development of Katie’s sense of self, reflecting on her past experiences and comparing who she feels she is now. The ongoing ‘small’ narratives suggested by interactions from the documentary, enabled the negotiation of Piper’s social identity, as she shared her experiences with other people with disfigurements. Both narrative forms were explored for points of continuity and change, issues of agency and ways of establishing similarity and difference to others, to understand how Katie Piper’s experience of disfigurement had a positive impact on her identity. The findings present the narrative material that best illustrates the complexity of her feelings towards disfigurement in relation to; appearance, responses to other people, independence and positive experience.

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