Navigating transitions : liminality, ethnography and stroke rehabilitation

Taylor, Elizabeth (2022) Navigating transitions : liminality, ethnography and stroke rehabilitation. In: Hayre, Christopher M. , Muller, Dave J. and Hackett, Paul M. W., (eds.) Rehabilitation in practice. Singapore : Springer. pp. 145-159. ISBN 9789811683169


This chapter uses Victor Turner’s concept of liminality as a theoretical lens through which to inspect various aspects of ethnography and stroke rehabilitation. Liminality is a productive concept for illuminating the experience of a stroke as a moment ‘in and out of time’ that marks a sudden separation from the life that preceded it. The stroke unit, a place of transition, is a liminal space. The purpose of a stroke unit is ambiguous, with priorities varying from one hospital to another. Patients lack agency as they are moved through these transitional spaces, and complex, individualized decisions are made by multidisciplinary teams on behalf of patients. The potential of rehabilitation for guiding people through the liminal wilderness to a better state is not consistently fulfilled, though there are valuable exceptions to this. Liminality is also used in this chapter to reflect on the process of transitioning from clinician to ethnographer, focusing on the fruitful awkwardness of being ‘betwixt and between’ groups and navigating decisions about presentation of self. The aim here is not to draw comparisons between the experiences of a researcher and a stroke patient, but to show how the process of doing ethnography and applying theory reveals new insights from familiar stories.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page