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Success Stories – Narrative Types in Swedish Journalistic Newspaper Articles about Living with Aphasia
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), The Wigforss Group.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0826-4735
2021 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Acquiring aphasia may entail a need to tell new ‘stories of self’. This identity re-negotiation must be understood in relation to ‘grand narratives’ which are highly influenced by the media. In other words, media representations form backdrops against which people construct their narrative identities. The media reports and reproduces ideals and norms regarding e.g. health, success, happiness and disabilities. Thus, it is in relation to this backdrop that people with aphasia re-negotiate their identities. Nevertheless, research on how people with aphasia are actually portrayed in the media is scarce. Aim: This study aimed to increase the knowledge about media representations of people living with aphasia, by studying Swedish journalistic newspaper articles. It focused on stories in which people with aphasia were included in the discussion rather than merely being the subject of the discussion, i.e. stories in which people with aphasia were talked to rather than being talked about.  Methods/procedures: A qualitative ethnographic content analysis (Altheide & Schneider, 2013) was conducted, using a typology of narrative types (Frank 1995/2013) as an analytical toolkit. The typology consists in restitution, chaos, quest, and broken narratives. Swedish print media material published between 2007 and 2018 was collected, resulting in an initial number of almost seven thousand entries. The material was scanned for irrelevant entries and duplicates, and eventually 84 articles were identified for inclusion in the qualitative analysis. Themes and sub-themes were identified within each narrative type, and the narrative types were also grouped into larger categories. Results: All of Frank’s narrative types were found in the studied articles. A major divide was identified between two emergent overarching frames: success stories and defeat stories. Although defeat stories did exist, they were outnumbered by the success stories. Stories about frustration, hopelessness, or giving up were rarely told. Instead, hardships were described as possible to overcome if the person with aphasia was stubborn enough. Thus, the overall finding is that, within Swedish journalistic newspaper articles, living with aphasia is framed as a success story. Discussion and clinical implications: ‘Stories of self’ authored by people with aphasia are more complex than simply being about success or defeat. Success stories may therefore be difficult to relate to for people with aphasia. Claiming that stubbornness is key to recovery implies that people with aphasia who are not recovering are not trying hard enough, when actually a number of neurological, medical and social factors influence their prognosis. Thus, success stories about stubbornness may induce feelings of failure in a person with aphasia who is not improving despite their efforts. Increased knowledge about these issues may prepare clinicians and researchers to address the complexity of the identity re-negotiation related to living with aphasia. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021.
Keywords [en]
aphasia, media representations, newspapers, narrative types, narrative agency, vicarious voice, ethnographic content analysis
National Category
Media and Communications Other Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-45194OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-45194DiVA, id: diva2:1576638
Conference
Nordic Aphasia Event (NAC), Online, 10 June, 2021
Available from: 2021-07-01 Created: 2021-07-01 Last updated: 2021-08-25Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf