Chronic Pain as Emotion

Emma Sheppard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The article explores chronic pain from a critical crip standpoint. It sets out why pain can be considered an emotion and presents a short crip reading of normative understanding, particularly how chronic pain is both abnormal and an ontological impossibility for the un-pained person. Chronic pain is characterized as “reliably unreliable” and contrasted with the reliable pain of BDSM and normative understandings of health and self-management. The article presents findings from a research project about how people living with chronic pain experienced pain and engaged with BDSM practices. The findings explore how ableist norms structure how we view chronic pain, and the demand for management of pain—particularly for the un-pained other. Also highlighted is a tension between the use of pacing as self-management and self-abjection, and the emotions to which this leads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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