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Abstract

Drawing on scholarship in illness narrative, this article argues for the significance of Arthur Frank’s concept of narrative resources to an understanding of narrative collapse. Dependent on the belief that stories need other stories and that all humans need to narrate their lives, the concept of narrative resources draws our attention to the kinds of stories that are sanctioned by our culture and asks us to consider those that are not. The author herself draws on a number of narrative resources to consider what happens when our life narratives collapse. Driven by a desire to understand her mother’s dementia, the author examines the narrative resources available for narrating dementia and depression. The author proposes Judith Butler’s concept of precariousness as a new framework for understanding the work of narrative.

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