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Ethnographies of limb loss and rehabilitation

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Published
Publication date12/02/2022
Host publicationRehabilitation in Practice: Ethnographic Perspectives
EditorsChristopher Hayre, Dave Muller, Paul Hackett
PublisherSpringer Nature
Pages131-144
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9789811683169
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Amputation of a limb and beginning to use a prosthetic (artificial) limb presents major physical, psychological and social challenges. Rehabilitation following limb loss involves a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and the challenges involved encompass regaining functional abilities and reintegration to work, family and social contexts and relationships. Qualitative research has played an important role in developing an appreciation of these processes and in recommending how health professionals can improve service provision. Although a range of qualitative approaches have been used in relation to limb loss and prosthesis use, ethnography has a unique methodological contribution to make in furthering an understanding of such issues and informing service provision. While ethnography may take different forms, it usually involves collecting data in natural settings (or, the field) using a combination of data collection strategies, such as observation and interviews, and embedding and interpreting results in the local and wider socio-political and cultural systems in which participants live and the research takes place. In this chapter, I review exemplar ethnographic studies of limb loss to highlight the value that such work offers for understanding rehabilitation, and how it can be improved, following amputation. This includes a study of limb loss following war, a military rehabilitation programme for wounded soldiers, and a civilian rehabilitation ward. The meanings and experience of limb loss and artificial limb use in particular social, cultural and rehabilitative contexts are therefore highlighted, as is the importance of gender, ethnicity, religion, economics and societal beliefs.

Bibliographic note

Authors whose work is accepted for publication in a non-open access Springer or Palgrave Macmillan book are permitted to self-archive the accepted manuscript (AM) chapter or section, on their own personal website and/or in their funder or institutional repositories, for public release after an embargo period (see the table below). The accepted manuscript is the version of the book manuscript accepted for publication after peer review, but prior to copyediting and typesetting.