Performative embodiment and unravelling grandparent-grandchild relationships

Owton, Helen (2015). Performative embodiment and unravelling grandparent-grandchild relationships. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(5) pp. 426–435.



This article seeks to intertwine women’s embodied experiences of wartime, dancing, and chronic illness. The author introduces “Granny” through the unraveling rhythms of grandparent–grandchild relationships. Through narrative poems, the author shares Granny’s dramatic stories of World War II. Bodies are socially and historically located, which therefore illuminates the ways in which her past is sedimented into her body and provides an understanding into the multi-layered ways her wartime, her performing bodily experiences, and asthma, encompass the past, the present, and the anticipated future. The author reflects on how some of these stories echo the breathless battle weary heroes referred to by Homer in the Illiad, which is where asthma can be traced back to.

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