CFS: Stories/Disability (Narrative Inquiry Bioethics)

Call for Stories for a Narrative Symposium: Living with the Label “Disability” | Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics—A Journal of Qualitative Research | Edited by Jeffery Bishop, MD, PhD and Naomi Sunderland, PhD

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish an issue focused on stories from people living with impairment-highlighting their encounters with both medical practice and research. The word “disability” suggests a coherent group with a set of common characteristics. Yet, there exists a broad spectrum of impairments experienced by the group of people with “disabilities.” Attention to such differences is important and diverse accounts may aide a more open and honest dialogue between stakeholders, policy makers, healthcare workers, and academics. We would like your true, personal stories in a form that is interesting and easy to read.

In writing your story, you might want to think about:

  • How does the label “disability” interact with other aspects of your life in health care settings, for example your gender, culture, and geographical location?
  • How does the term “disability” reflect your actual embodied experiences of impairment?
  • When does the label “disability” not do justice to your particular experience of impairment?
  • Have you accepted the label “disability” in your life? If yes, what effects has this had for you and others e.g. family, friends, health care providers, and co-workers?
  • Describe the kind of experiences you might have that are possible because of your impairment.
  • How have labels of disability affected the degree to which you feel that your “authentic voice” has been heard by others e.g. family, friends, health care providers?
  • How has the impact of the label disability changed for you over time e.g. as you have aged or as societal expectations and standards have changed?
  • How has the label “disability” been a hindrance in your life? Has the label been beneficial?
  • What else might you want people to know?

You do not need to address all of these questions-write on the issues that you think are most important to share with others. You do not need to be a writer, just tell your story in your own words. We plan to publish 12 stories (800 – 2000 words) on this topic. Additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. We also publish two to four commentary articles that discuss the stories in the journal. If we receive more stories than we can publish in the journal then the 1000 Voices group will invite those authors to share their stories on the 1000 Voices website.

If you are interested in submitting a story, we ask you first to submit a 300-word proposal-a short description of the story you want to tell. Please include a statement about 1) what type of impairment you are living with and 2) what country you live in. Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email: 

Preference given to story proposals received by October 31, 2012. For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage with Johns Hopkins University Press at:

Every issue of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will be available electronically to over 1,000 institutional subscribers via ProjectMUSE.

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