Michelle Kathleen Roberts

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Kentucky, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10721

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Roberts, Michelle (Kentucky, U. of) "Webs of Care: Understanding Acquired Disability in Rural Appalachia through Culture, Politics, and Biomedicine"

While healthcare plays an invaluable role in disability prevention and treatment, disabled people and their families are often left to manage new care needs and daily life post-hospitalization. This ethnographic doctoral dissertation project investigates how cultural, political-economic, and biomedical forces shape disability via everyday experiences of care for people with acquired disabilities and their families in Appalachian Kentucky. The research utilizes participant observation, interviews, photovoice, and concept mapping to examine how disability and care are co-constituted and enacted through material practice and institutional action and inaction. Drawing on anthropological and feminist approaches to care, disability, and biomedicine, this project’s novel praxiographic approach investigates disability and care as fundamentally relational and multiply enacted through the everyday practices of disabled people, care networks, healthcare, and policy. Twelve months of fieldwork will highlight the experiences of disabled people, interdependencies of care, agentive strategies used to mitigate health inequities, and ways to support disabled people long-term. This research will identify areas of improvement for care for disabled people and their families, insufficient healthcare services from the healthcare system and public policy, strategies to mitigate health inequities, and the impact of gaps in care on disabled people, their families, and care networks.