Framing chronic illness : fatigue syndromes, metaphor and meaning
Bowditch, Joanne R.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) are primarily women’s syndromes. Both syndromes are highly contested within the biomedical and scientific communities and within the general population. Because there is no apparent cause for the syndromes and no available treatment, women living with FMS and/or CFIDS must live with difficult and disabling symptoms. This research also analyzes the metaphors used in the scientific and biomedical literature to describe the same symptoms as listed above. A comparison is drawn between this analysis and that focused on the women’s use of metaphors. It is found that although many of the metaphors are the same, they differ in discursive employment. Environmental metaphors, along with metaphors of fracture, harm and productivity are used by the research participants with a very different intent than how the same metaphors are used in the biomedical literature. The women used the metaphors to reveal the ways in which their symptoms are influenced by the social and cultural forces in their everyday lives. The biomedical and scientific use of metaphors reinforced the highly contested view that the symptoms are influenced more by individual psychological and emotional deficiencies than by broader structural forces.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
DepartmentWomen's and Gender Studies
ProgramWomen's and Gender Studies
SupervisorDowne, Pamela J.
CommitteeJames-Cavan, Kathleen; Biggs, C. Lesley
Copyright DateMarch 2006
chronic fatigue syndrome