Ingrid Ruud Knutsen, RN, PhD from Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and University of Oslo, Norway is the author of our current featured article that explores the health consequences of contemporary society’s views about large bodies. The article is titled “A Discursive Look at Large Bodies—Implications for Discursive Approaches in Nursing and Health Research. Dr. Knutsen shared this message for ANS readers about her work:
How have we come to understand obesity as an illness that is treated by surgery and medication in contemporary health care? Through research projects, I have experienced that people in large bodies often feel stigmatized, especially by health professionals. There are reasons to question whether the general attitude towards people in large bodies represent a greater challenge than the large body itself for obese people. For what is health? – is it happy, self-confident people enjoying life and their opportunities or is it people striving towards a perfect exterior? For scientists it is important sometimes to stop and question premises for our knowledge, conditions and situations, to reflect about whether we could serve patients better by approaching them in other ways and understand their situations through alternative perspectives. A reflective and critical approach related to how to challenge understandings we take for granted represents an important angle in research. Discursive perspectives and discourse analysis are based on an epistemology welcoming other questions and new approaches to challenge traditional knowledge and understandings. Such perspectives give opportunity to enrich research in nursing and health.
We would be delighted to see your comments and responses appear here! You can download your copy of Dr. Knutsen’s article while it is featured on the ANS web site, then come back here to leave your comments!
The authors of our current featured article provide exemplars from a study exploring African American participation in research to demonstrate the use of a combined framework for analysis that examines the interactions of environment, culture, biology and history to understand the complex problems of health inequity. The article, titled “Uniting Postcolonial, Discourse, and Linguistic Theory to Explore Participation of African Americans in Cancer Research as an Effect of Social and Historical Race Relationships” is authored by Darryl Somayaji, PhD, RN, CNS, CCRC and Kristin Gates Cloyes, PhD, RN. They present a compelling discussion of the need to better understand the experience of African Americans as research participants, and to use this understanding to change the social and political realities of the research environment, research practices, and the teaching of research methods. Dr Somayaji shared the following account of how this work evolved:
Kristin and I are honored that our article was selected to be featured for the current issue of ANS. I was fortunate to be a doctoral student of Dr. Kristin Gates Cloyes at the University of Utah, School of Nursing. Although our clinical backgrounds and expertise are different (Kristin’s in mental health; mine in cancer and cancer research), we share a
Dr. Somayaji (left) and Dr. Cloyes
common history of interest in social justice and health equity. Kristin’s knowledge and expertise in critical research was instrumental in opening my eyes to new ways of thinking about research theory and how different approaches to research can translate to practice. The article “Uniting Postcolonial, Discourse, and Linguistic Theory to Explore Participation of African Americans in Cancer Research as an Effect of Social and Historical Race Relations” is from my dissertation work on exploring African American participation in research. Our hope is that this article will illuminate the complexity of participation in cancer research, and the importance of understanding how history, relationships, and language are closely tied to research subject identity.
The article will be available at no charge while it is featured on the ANS web site! I invite you to read this important and thought-provoking article while it is featured, and contribute your responses and thoughts on this topic by commenting here. This is a topic that calls for ongoing and lively discussion, and we welcome the opportunity to engage using this blog!
How we talk and think about aging is something that most often is taken for granted. This is not the case for Connie Madden and Kristin Cloyes who have investigated the language of aging in history, theory and research. They point out in their featured article titled “The Discourse of Aging,” the experience of aging is common to all humans, but it remains poorly understood. Their analysis reveals how the language of aging has shaped not only our general ideas about the “common” aging experience, but the research and theories related to aging. Their analysis shows how language has tended to dichotomize how we think about aging as an either-or — living longer or living better. Nursing, they believe, can make a significant contribution to understanding aging by bringing a holistic view to this experience, and challenge notions that perpetuate limited and stereotyping assumptions about aging. Here are some reflections from the authors about their work on aging:
Connie Madden: My interest in the language of aging has been fueled through my experiences as a nurse educator talking with students about their experiences and perceptions. Through PhD course work as a student in the University Of Utah Hartford Center Of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, I have been able to expand my interest through exploring the relationship between language, perception and the practice of providing nursing care for older adults. In a particular course, The Philosophy of Inquiry , Dr. Kristin Cloyes helped put those pieces together through examination of anti-aging and healthy aging language as it intersects in the larger aging discourse.
Kristin Cloyes: It’s always inspiring when a scholar is able to take the typical structure of a required course and shape it into something they really want to say, growing a field she or he is passionate about in new directions. In this case, the structure involved a required course paper in which I ask students toexplore a central concept in their area of interest, to identify common epistemological assumptions that shape the field and to explore how these assumptions stand up when viewed from differing frameworks. Connie used the paper to embark on an incisive analysis of assumptions about aging, and how these may shape nursing education. After I suggested that her thesis should be developed for publication, I was lucky enough for Connie to invite me to help expand and refine her ideas about the discourse of gerontology as an emerging area of study.
The credit on the illustration “The Seven Ages of Man” shown above reads: Bartolomaeus Anglicus, Le Proprietaire des Choses tres Utiles … Paris 1510