The political role of illness narratives

J Adv Nurs. 2000 Jun;31(6):1469-75. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2000.01461.x.


Cultural criticism is used to describe the political role of autobiographical illness narratives or pathographies. In expressing the subjective experience of illness, authors of pathographies illuminate ideological differences between patient and health care cultures, reveal the dominance of health care ideologies, and explicate patients' moral and political claims. The contributions of these literary works to nursing practice provide direction for relational restructuring. Gadow's concept of the relational narrative is proposed as a way to restore patient subjectivity and agency and establish the dialogue necessary for cultural pluralism in nursing and health care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anecdotes as Topic*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Humans
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Politics*
  • Sick Role*