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Open AccessArticle

Considering Material Culture in Assessing Assistive Devices: “Breaking up the Rhythm”

Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, 302 Human Ecology Building, Edmonton, AB T6G 2N1, Canada
Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2N1, Canada
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, 3654 prom Sir-William-Osler, Montréal, QC H3G 1Y5, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Gregor Wolbring
Societies 2016, 6(2), 14;
Received: 24 December 2015 / Revised: 5 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
This paper reports on a project that looked at the meaning stroke survivors assigned to assistive devices. Material culture theory served as a framework to help stroke survivors explicitly consider [dis]ability as a discursive object with a socially constructed meaning that influenced how they thought about themselves with impairment. Material culture theory informed the design (taking and talking to their peers about photos of anything that assisted) and analysis of the meaning of the assistive devices project. In our analysis of the narratives, survivors assigned three types of meanings to the assistive devices: markers of progress, symbolic objects of disability, and the possibility of independent participation. Notably, the meaning of assistive devices as progress, [dis]ability, and [poss]ability was equally evident as participants talked about mobility, everyday activities, and services. We discuss how considering [dis]ability as a discursive object in the situation might have enabled stroke survivors to participate. View Full-Text
Keywords: disability; material culture; stroke; assistive devices disability; material culture; stroke; assistive devices
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Anderson, S.; Kaiser Gladwin, K.; Mayo, N. Considering Material Culture in Assessing Assistive Devices: “Breaking up the Rhythm”. Societies 2016, 6, 14.

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