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Journal Article

Narrative Construction of a Ruptured Self: Stories of Transability on

Jenny L. Davis
Sociological Perspectives
Vol. 55, No. 2 (Summer 2012), pp. 319-340
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.1525/sop.2012.55.2.319
Stable URL:
Page Count: 22
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Narrative Construction of a Ruptured Self: Stories of Transability on
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Abstract is an online community for people with body integrity identity disorder (BIID). People with BIID believe that they were born in incorrectly abled bodies. By analyzing the Introduction statements of twenty-two bloggers, the author shows how BIID is collectively constructed and individually articulated. Specifically, the author shows how bloggers essentialize their impairment-needs, painting a picture of a ruptured self. Through self-narratives, bloggers describe their impairment-needs as existential and deeply intrinsic. They support this description in several ways: (1) focusing on childhood, (2) grappling with “why?”, (3) painting a detailed picture of the “correct” body, and (4) denial/surrender stories. The author argues that the essentialist narrative locates impairment-needs within a “natural” frame and in doing so acts as a form of moral stigma resistance. The author then connects this stigma management strategy with the political and material goals of medical recognition and a path to legal ability re-assignment surgery.

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