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Not TonightMigraine and the Politics of Gender and Health$
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Joanna Kempner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226179018

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226179292.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 February 2020

Embracing the Migraine Brain

Embracing the Migraine Brain

(p.75) Chapter Three Embracing the Migraine Brain
Not Tonight

Joanna Kempner

University of Chicago Press

People with migraine report that they experience a great deal of delegitimation. This book chapter analyzes an how people in online communities—people whose embodied experiences are profoundly shaped by the legitimacy deficit—construct migraine as a legitimate disease of public attention and resources. These online communities, which together constitute an embodied health movement, are fighting to replace highly gendered stereotyping of migraine with a public understanding of migraine as a neurobiological phenomenon. But closer examination reveals that online communities do more than just adopt a biomedical neurobiological paradigm. Online advocates use social legitimacy, rather than typical tools of scientific inquiry, as a framework through which to evaluate different explanations of migraine. So, for example, biomedical studies are welcomed when they appear to legitimate the experience of migraine, but they are ignored, critiqued and ridiculed if thought to undermine its legitimacy. Likewise, some advocates authorize embodied experience when it fits with the neurobiological model thought to legitimate migraine, but question this same experience when it does not. The neurobiological model is seen as a valuable method of remaking their group's perceived moral character.

Keywords:   migraine, pain, legitimacy, embodied health movement, contested illness, gender, neurobiology, embodiment, moral character

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