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Becker maintains that to understand disruption, we must also understand cultural definitions of normalcy. She questions what is normal for a family, for health, for womanhood and manhood, and for growing older. In the United States, where life is expected to be orderly and predictable, disruptions are particularly unsettling, she contends. And, while continuity in life is an illusion, it is an effective one because it organizes people's plans and expectations.
Becker's phenomenological approach yields a rich, compelling, and entirely original narrative. Disrupted Lives acknowledges the central place of discontinuity in our existence at the same time as it breaks new ground in understanding the cultural dynamics that underpin life in the United States.
FROM THE BOOK:"The doctor was blunt. He does not mince words. He did a [semen] analysis and he came back and said, 'This is devastatingly poor.' I didn't expect to hear that. It had never occurred to me. It was such a shock to my sense of self and to all these preconceptions of my manliness and virility and all of that. That was a very, very devastating moment and I was dumbfounded. . . . In that moment it totally changed the way that I thought of myself."
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Life change events United States, Adjustment (Psychology) United States