Severe Brain Injury and Boundary Work
Based on the concept of boundary work, this chapter focuses on how survivors of severe traumatic brain injury construe themselves and the rest of society, and how enacting boundaries is especially important for these individuals’ constitution of self. The qualitative study features in-depth interviews with working-age people from across Denmark five years post injury. The data suggest two diverse age-related constructions of boundary work. The older respondents reinforced collective norms of the typical brain-injured individual, thus manifesting strong symbolic boundaries at the levels of both individual and collective identity. However, the younger respondents, who had more at stake, sought to challenge the predominant stereotypes of being unable to work and thus transform their collective identity. The chapter concludes that boundary work for survivors of severe traumatic brain injury is a continuous process even many years after their accident; these individuals must negotiate the official categories into which they are placed, along with the types of discourse that sustain them, despite being relatively well rehabilitated.
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