This book uncovers normative assumptions, practices and discourses as central to the production of difference which manifests as gender and sexual inequality and other forms of disadvantage and discrimination in health and healthcare. The strength of these perspectives is in critiquing the increasing power of biomedical sciences in order to contest the hegemony of unexamined healthcare assumptions that deny difference and thereby sustain inequality. These queer and critical theories trouble neoliberal healthcare economics and biomedical scientific norms that operate in every sphere of healthcare, providing a range of radical tools to destabilise, deconstruct or reimagine binaries, discourses, normative categories or moral ideals prevalent in the pursuit of health.
This engaging, troubling, and beautifully-written book dives into the assumptions and paradoxes that shape our experiences of health care. It challenges systems of classification that attempt to reduce human complexity to a label by recognizing the fluid, hybrid nature of contemporary identities. Thus, it expands our understanding of queer theory and queer practice that aims to “undo normativity”. The integration of theory and narrative is masterful, and the book’s messages are both timely and timeless. Queer Health insists (despite the hegemony of the market) that kindness, dignity, and compassion are more relevant today than ever. I can’t wait to share this work with my colleagues and students. Its stories and exquisitely clear theoretical presentations support anti-oppressive practice in a variety of fields, inspiring the reader to re-imagine systems of care. This important new work will inform, and perhaps more important, open up the discourse on health care and health policy to new questions and perspectives. Amanda Barusch, Professor of Social Work, University of Otago & University of Utah.
This is an excellent addition to the literature and body of evidence on the complex issues that still challenge members of our society in their access and experiences of health care. Not only have the authors captured the essence of the book in its title but they have focused their writings, evidence base and knowledge on key issues and pivotal issues that have a direct impact on the equality of care expected by all. In my view the authors have bravely decide to explore issues that some may find uncomfortable; age, mental health, lesbian narratives, and inside user perspectives. The queer theory that frames this book provides a rigorous approach to the critical understanding of the issues addressed. There is no doubt in my mind that this book is a must read for all health and social are practitioners. It will challenge, stimulate, provide understanding and insight into the wider needs of society and the role that practitioners can play. For those looking to provide insight into equality and diversity in their programs and curricula then this book does just that in a way that will inspire. Professor Brian J Webster, Assistant Dean, Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University
Forewords Professor Gillian Bendelow and Professor Ian Parker
1. Introduction Laetitia Zeeman, Kay Aranda and Alec Grant
2. Life histories and health narratives of older British lesbians Jane Traies and Sally R Munt
3. Exploring older gay male culture and its implications for health and social care Lee Price
4. It’s a gap, not an overlap: Queering bi health Kath Browne, Leela Bakshi and Georgina Voss
5. Queer challenges to evidence-based mental health care Laetitia Zeeman, Kay Aranda and Alec Grant
6. Troubling the normative mental health recovery project: The silent resistance of a disappearing doctor Alec Grant and Helen Leigh-Phippard
7. Breaking the grip: a critical insider account of representational practices in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy and mental health nursing Alec Grant
8. Narratives of the resilient subject in health and social care Kay Aranda and Laetitia Zeeman
9. The body queered in health and healthcare Kay Aranda
10. Queer teeth Olu Jenzen
About the Editors:
Dr Laetitia Zeeman has a clinical and academic background in mental health, narrative therapy and clinical governance, gained in South Africa and England. This exposure acts as foundation to her current teaching, scholarly activities and research as a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Science at the University of Brighton. She is interested in developing knowledge and practices that question dominant discourses of health and recognise the strengths and abilities of people when they face adversity, or have gained experience of mental health problems. Her research explores the interface between gender, sexuality and mental health via critical discourse analysis and narrative inquiry.
Kay Aranda is a Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Applied Social Science at the University of Brighton in the UK. She has worked in the NHS and voluntary sector, and in commu¬nity nursing, primary care and women’s health. With an academic background in the social sci¬ences and theoretical interests in feminist theories and practices, her research and interests include gender, health inequalities and questions of difference. She has recently written on the body, embodiment and recognition in healthcare and is currently interested in how feminist and women’s health concerns might be explored through the practice turn in contemporary social theory.
Dr Alec Grant is Reader in Narrative Mental Health in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Brighton. He is widely published in the fields of ethnography, autoethnography, clinical supervision, cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, and communication and interpersonal skills. His current and developing research interests coalesce in the area of narrative inquiry.