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Narratives of Social Suffering: Toward a Social Justice Agenda
Joan M. Anderson, Nursing, UBC
Coach House, Green College, UBC
March 27 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Arthur Kleinman and his colleagues tell us that “social suffering… brings into a single space an assemblage of human problems that have their origins and consequences in the devastating injuries that social force inflicts on human experience.” The narratives from patients with whom Joan M. Anderson has conducted research over the past thirty years have illuminated the ways in which the experiencing of illness, and the styles of managing health and illness that are often attributed to individual choice or culture, can be understood, instead, as having their origins in social forces and structural injustices over which individuals have little control. From her research findings, she has argued that equitable health and health care can only be achieved by a commitment to unmasking structural constraints that often remain hidden from view, especially in a society that prides itself on accessible health care to all of its citizens.  In later career, she has been examining the kinds of knowledge that need to be produced and drawn on by academics who teach health professionals, health professionals in practice, and policy makers, for responsible social action that would move us closer toward a more equitable society, and the ideal of justice.
 

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