Krishnan, A.R., Jha, S.
Writing bodies, wording illness and countering marginalization: graphic autopathographies as a genre
(2022) Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
The hegemonic oppression by biomedical discourses and erroneous cultural assumptions of degeneracy doubly marginalise the chronically ill and exclude them from domains of productivity. Personal narratives of lived illness experience help to contest metanarratives of dominant discourses, counter the marginalisation occasioned by social and medical othering of diseased bodies, and act as co-discourses that supplement the understanding of illnesses. In this scenario, graphic autopathographies become performative tools through which the marginalised seeks redressal using verbal, spatial and temporal representations of self, body, and illness. Drawing theoretical insights from Arthur Frank, Carolyn R. Miller, Elisabeth El Refaie, Susan Sontag, and Michel Foucault, the article investigates how the chronically ill seek to overcome biomedical reduction and social exclusion by way of this hybrid narrative genre that helps engender participation and resuscitation of the patient’s voice and agency. For this end, the article examines select graphic memoirs and extends the resulting observations to understand autopathographies in general. © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
chronic illness; genre; Graphic medicine; marginalisation; medical gaze; self; stigma