21 Nov 2012: Sociology Seminar

Issued: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 17:42:00 BST

Biographical Disruption and Delays in Diagnosis: The Barriers Facing Adults with Motor Neurone Disease

Dr Jo Ferrie (SCDR, University of Glasgow)

4.00-5.30pm, Room 916, Adam Smith Building

This paper builds up on the notion of biographical disruption (Bury, 1982) as applied to chronic illness. Here  Bury discussed the importance of rebuilding or reconstructing a narrative of the self that incorporates the reality of chronic illness and the disruption this has had on anticipated opportunities and experiences. This was further developed by Locock et al (2009) and applied to MND (that can behave both as a chronic and as a terminal illness). Locock et al argued for the notion of biographical abruption where the diagnosis of a terminal condition leads to an ending where reconstructing a future is severely impeded. Drawing on results from a 2 year qualitative study, we challenge the notion of abruption. Getting a diagnosis of MND can take considerable time (up to 18 months), can involve multiple practitioners, multiple clinics or hospitals, multiple tests and these combine to disrupt a biographical narrative to such an extent that it impairs the ability to reconstruct an idea of self after diagnosis. We will therefore explore to what extent the experience of waiting for a diagnosis, rather than the reaction to the diagnosis itself, has on the severity of biographical disruption.

All welcome.


The Sociology Seminar Series is supported by the MacFie Bequest, named after Professor Alec MacFie, Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy at the University from 1945 to 1958. 

Any enquiries about the seminar series can be addressed to: Andrew.Smith.2@glasgow.ac.uk