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The Logic of Accounting: Pain, Promises, Prescriptions

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posted on 01.11.2017 by Alyson Patsavas
Discourses of pain are marked by contradiction, depicting pain as simultaneously a universal human experience and, at the same time, a deeply personal and subjective phenomenon. Similarly, narratives of pain vacillate, often within a single account, between depicting pain as totalizing in its destruction and as something that one can overcome through a positive attitude and/or strict adherence to medical regimes. My dissertation asks, simply: what makes these seemingly incommensurate yet simultaneous framings possible? In answering this question, I forward an understanding of what I call the logic of accounting for pain to outline the logic that structures discursive framings of pain as simultaneously an individual tragedy, a national problem, and a matter of personal responsibility. I argue that cost/benefit analyses frame, shape, and connect these seemingly divergent discourses of pain. I map out how this logic shapes discourses across various cultural locations (from first-person memoirs to popular press articles to professional literature) and intersects with discourses of disability, race, class, gender, and sexuality to register the cost of pain. I discuss alternative representational strategies that interrupt, crip and queer such logics to craft new ways of knowing, feeling, and being with/in pain.

History

Chair

Sandahl, Carrie

Department

Disability and Human Development

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

Doctoral

Committee Member

Sufian, Sandra Davis, Lennard Brier, Jennifer McRuer, Robert

Submitted date

August 2017

Issue date

01/08/2017

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