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The Fibromyalgia Story; Medical Authority and Women

by Kristin K. Barker - £24.99  Temple University Press (2005)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9781592131617 | ISBN 10: 1592131611

More than six million Americans—most of them women—have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a disorder that produces musculo-skeletal pain and fatigue. In the absence of visible evidence, a well-understood cause, or effective treatment, many have questioned whether FMS is a "real" illness. Amidst the controversy, millions of women live with their very real symptoms.
Rather than taking sides in the heated debate, Kristin Barker explains how FMS represents an awkward union between the practices of modern medicine and the complexity of women's pain. Using interviews with sufferers, Barker focuses on how the idea of FMS gives meaning and order to women beset by troubling symptoms, self-doubt, and public skepticism. This book offers a fresh look at a controversial diagnosis; Barker avoids overly simplistic explanations and empathizes with sufferers without losing sight of the social construction of disease and its relation to modern medical practice.

"Kristin Barker presents us with one of those rare sociological studies of the experience of illness by examining how women manage a common but contested pain syndrome called fibromyalgia. Based on in-depth interviews with sufferers and an analysis of medical and non-medical literature, Barker increases our understanding of the gendered construction of the disorder and how sufferers manage their symptoms, seek legitimacy, and develop an illness identity in the context of a doubting medical world. This book should interest medical sociologists and practitioners as well as people with fibromyalgia and their families.""
Peter Conrad, Harry Coplan Professor of Social Sciences, Brandeis University

(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)

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In booklists: Women's Health and Wellbeing,
In categories: Feminism & Women, Health & Wellbeing,

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