Numerous movies, YouTube videos, books, and public service announcements have begun to address people with narcolepsy, and this discourse has led to greater visibility and understanding about an often-misunderstood condition. In Narratives of Narcolepsy in Everyday Life: Exploring Intricacies of Identity, Sleepiness, and Place, Nicole Eugene draws on in-depth interviews, participant observation, and field notes to examine life with narcolepsy, with a particular focus on how certain socially-defined places play significant roles in determining the meaning of sleepiness, medication side effects, and other narcolepsy symptoms. Eugene also includes one autoethnographic essay that explores her own experiences with narcolepsy as a Black woman, refracted through the lens of the various places where sleepiness may arise. Throughout the book, an emphasis on making sense of narcolepsy by communicating with others with the condition demonstrates a peer-based approach to researching health communication and disabilities. Drawing on feminist disability studies, health communication, narrative inquiry, and autoethnography, this book is an example of interpretive qualitative communication research that renders the lives of vulnerable people with compassion and understanding.
Nicole Eugene is assistant professor of communication at the University of Houston-Victoria.
Chapter 1: Exploring Communication About Narcolepsy
Chapter 2: An Autoethnography on Being Black and/or Sleepy in the Right & Wrong Places
Chapter 3: At Work with Narcolepsy
Chapter 4: At Home with Narcolepsy
Chapter 5: Driving with Narcolepsy
Chapter 6: Active with Narcolepsy
Chapter 7: Exchanging Stories of Hidden Disabilities
Appendix: Methods for Listening to Others and Crafting Narratives
About the Author
Nicole Eugene beautifully renders stories of narcolepsy in rich detail, deftly blended with thoughtful connections to disability theory and research. This gem of a book illuminates experiences of Eugene and her research participants in navigating complex embodiment in the face of stigma and misunderstanding, highlighting racialized and gendered aspects of hidden disability in public and private spaces. A must-read for health communication and disability communication scholars, as well as anyone interested in autoethnographic methods--I couldn't put it down!
Nicole Eugene offers a captivating and much-needed account of narcolepsy: its various meanings and manifestations, the ways one lives with it, and how others fail to understand it. Throughout, she offers intimate, intersecting insights about sleep, ability, and identity, and, with this work, will facilitate positive awareness about the condition.
Nicole Eugene skillfully weaves theory and personal narrative together to draw readers into the lived, embodied experience of narcolepsy. The rigorous, interdisciplinary, and accessible examination will appeal to established scholars and students across the social sciences and humanities invested in accessing the lived, embodied experience of invisible disability broadly, and narcolepsy specifically.