Kinked and Crippled: disabled BDSM practitioners’ experiences and embodiments of pain

Sheppard, Emma (2017) Kinked and Crippled: disabled BDSM practitioners’ experiences and embodiments of pain. Doctoral thesis, Edge Hill University.

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Abstract

The thesis explores the experience of pain for people who live with chronic pain and engage in BDSM1 (or ‘kinky’) pain play. It is situated within disability studies, taking the position that chronic pain is a disability, and in the use of crip theory to explore narratives of experience. The narratives, told through multiple, detailed interviews were explored in the contexts of crip theory, disability, and medical and social understandings of pain. The thesis addresses three core aims; firstly, to hear narratives of experiences of chronic pain and BDSM play. Secondly, to explore those narratives to reveal experiences and understandings of pain sought by those who live with chronic pain and also engage in BDSM. Finally, to challenge normative conceptions of pain through a critical crip reading of the narratives. The narratives revealed a range of complex experiences. I drew out these narratives in three broad themes: the role of crip time in living with chronic pain; the multiple uses of BDSM – including pleasure and control of the self – and the role of stigma and abjection. The thesis has made a number of original contributions to knowledge. Firstly, it revealed how pain is discursively constructed as needing control and containment, but how non-normative methods of control and bodily engagement are not necessarily understood as such. Secondly, the thesis exposes how pain is assumed to be wholly destructive to the self, but instead ways to integrate pain into the self are sought. Thirdly, it adds to crip theory by expanding the notion of crip time to reflect the experience of living with chronic pain. Finally, by demonstrating how the narratives challenge understandings of the ‘normal,’ as reflected in discourses of chronic pain. The thesis thus exposes how normative constructions of pain are a part of the performance and construction of able-bodyminded heterosexuality.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pain; crip theory; disability; BDSM, control, normativity; crip time; stigma; abjection
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Sociology
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2018 11:33
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/9950

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