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Aviva Vincent

Abstract

This literature review seeks to advance the interdisciplinary conversation that dog parks are a resource for building social capital through interpersonal exchange, which is beneficial for both individuals’ health across the life span and for the communities. Dog parks have been linked to health promotion behaviors and improved long-term health of the companion animals and their guardians. Similarly, social capital and dog guardianship have been independently linked to positive health outcomes through a limited amount of literature. By analyzing the relevant literature on the triangulation of social capital, dog-human relationship, and dog parks within the United States through a robust literature review, the author seeks to advance the call for empirical research towards understanding dog parks as a mechanism to create and sustain social capital within urban neighborhoods.

Garrett Bunyak

Abstract

Fat feline and canine bodies are increasingly medicalized in stories from veterinary journals that describe a “rising tide of pet obesity.” The construction of “obesity epidemics” and “pandemics” drive the storylines of these journals that claim fat bodies are at risk of increased pain during life and early death. Despite the authoritarian tone of the stories, few certainties and agreements exist within the literature. Yet the stories weave together with a fatphobic culture, technoscience, humanism, and neoliberalism to shape the types of choices available for “responsible pet owners” and practicing veterinarians. Laced with fatphobia, veterinary knowledges have the potential power to literally reshape the bodies of companion animals. For more accurate descriptions of reality and more diverse futures, science needs new stories that recognize and construct heterogenous ways of being and relating within and between species.

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Deborah Freedman

Abstract

In the beginning…aids ravaged humanity all over the globe. People became ill and died quickly. Those who were a part of the gay or haemophiliac communities were going to one funeral after another. Everyone was in the dark and everyone was scared. Those infected cry into the night. Their voices silenced by death.

But there were witnesses. At home there were lovers, friends or parents. Some died alone, the tree outside their bedroom the only witness. It was these people and the earth that knew them who were the witnesses of their stories. Most couldn’t speak of it.

One man in San Francisco, Cleve Jones, broke the isolation. He created the ‘Names Project aids Memorial Quilt.’ People were asked to write a name on fabric, a story was too much to ask. The first panels were only a name. Slowly, very slowly, the Quilt grew and grew and grew. Over time images appeared and stories emerged. I was a quilter. I heard the stories from the caregivers at home. The stories shared were not of the illness, but the life of their loved one. Over and over again, tears streaming down their faces, the caregivers’ role at home was implanted into my being. Their hearts were exposed. Over and over I listened to narratives until I snapped into fairy tale. The narrative was too small a container for what I was hearing. So, come along with me to my little corner of the world…

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Elena Sharratt

Abstract

This chapter explores the collective production of a shared narrative surrounding sexual violence trauma as found within a support group for female survivors. When I talk of the ‘collective production of a shared narrative’ I refer to the ways in which collaborative and non-vocal engagement with the support community allowed my participants to present their stories of trauma as common and interconnected. These practices, I argue, can be contrasted to more traditional individual ‘talking therapies’, which are informed by popular medical and philosophical conceptions of sexual violence trauma and, as a result, often present it as pathological and individually-bound. Alongside outlining a description of these group practices, this chapter seeks to interpret their particular significance and meaningfulness. I suggest that, by implicitly rejecting the more traditional and individualising ways of responding to and treating sexual violence trauma, my participants worked to de-pathologize their experiences and, instead, locate them as pertinent social and structural problems by externalising and reframing them. Ultimately, I argue that, whilst not using their ‘voice’ in the traditional or vocal sense of the word, the collective voice which emerges from these practices of group narrative telling is one that is both compassionate and powerfully political. Having thus observed the power of this non-vocal message, during the course of my research, I was forced to engage in exploring my own role in translating it into words. As such, this chapter additionally contains a discussion surrounding the ways in which, through the use of feminist-informed critical reflexivity, we, as researchers, might best go about, ethically and meaningfully putting into words that which both evades and transcends speech.

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Naomi Krüger

Abstract

Stories about dementia have ethical implications. Both cultural and fictional narratives about this disease have the potential to strengthen the fear and disgust that often surrounds it. This in turn can impact the way people living with dementia are viewed and treated. While there has been much criticism of de-humanising, biomedical approaches and much focus on the implications of language used in cultural narratives, the fact remains that dementia is a devastating degenerative disease. In light of this, how can stories and storytelling contribute towards assembling ‘a new humanity in the loss,’1 inspiring empathy and hope, without effacing the painful reality of the condition? I will attempt to answer this question by telling the story of my own creative process in writing a novel as part of my PhD thesis that is partly narrated by a character with dementia. By reflecting on the experiences that inspired my fictional narrative, and the ethical and aesthetic challenges that I faced along the way, I will argue that narrative does have an important role to play in re-visioning the lived experience of dementia and the way we approach care and support. I will draw on critics from the fields of literary disability studies and medical humanities to support my argument. Furthermore, in using creative nonfiction to express my ideas, I hope to show not only that stories can help us to re-imagine and re-characterise dementia, but also, as David Herman asserts, that ‘narrative itself can work to readjust the contextual parameters in terms of which people produce and understand stories.’2

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Mirjam Stuij, Agnes Elling, Anja Tramper and Tineke Abma

Abstract

The restitution story, the type of illness story about living a healthy life again, is the most prominent type in Western society. Patients who are unable to realise a restitution story might need an alternative ‘corpus of stories’ to draw on, for example narratives that more explicitly incorporate quest and/or loss. In this chapter, we present the narrative of Anja, a woman with diabetes who wanted, but was unable to live the restitution story. Although she seemed to have all characteristics in favour of ‘restitution’, such as willingness, capacities, and a higher socioeconomic background, she encountered losses and was not able to go back to her ‘normal life’. Through a sociological lens, her narrative habitus was influenced by her privileged position and expressed in her emphasis on ‘starting all over again’, departing from dominant health discourses that emphasise restitution and individual responsibility. The encounters with the voice of the researcher(s) made her aware of the dominant storyline and, as an incidental outcome of the research process, enabled her to reconstruct her story. Along the way, Anja’s story became more polyphonic, as she began to incorporate the voices of the researcher(s) and others. A detailed elaboration of this specific case shows the relational dynamics of narrative development and interpretation, and offers important implications for health care. It points towards the importance of attentiveness, responsibility, and responsiveness as well as solidarity with a broader group of patients suffering from diabetes, including those in less privileged positions.

Oliver Keane

Abstract

This paper suggests studies on genetically engineering nonhuman animal genes have globalized over the last 30 years. The results unveil maps that give a global overview of universities’ studies into engineering animal genes, by purpose and by species, at a state scale. A network map also shows how studies on engineering animal genes are co-constituted internationally, at a state scale. Some of the more notable map findings are developed using a novel ontological approach. This ontology relates the being of an animal, a constitutive lack, to power relations. The beings of animals are trapped into serving capital through the engineering of their genes. This reconfiguration allows the ensnaring of the body in agricultural, or other, power relations. The scale of this carceral archipelago is positioned as a global risk. Life energy, by nature, resists capture. Therefore, the paper concludes that the clock is ticking on genetic scientists’ Faustian bargain.