Aline Gubrium


In this article, I focus on the life stories of African-American women living in a rural community in the South, particularly on their career trajectory stories. Life in this small community leaves little to offer in terms of work, with most women working either in a clothing factory in town, in the state prison located on the outskirts of town, or working in nearby University Town as nursing assistants or custodial workers—all jobs which rely on the participants’ strenuous labor and which often result in disabilities (often related to back or hip injuries) and the participants’ consequent inability to work outside the home. This article discusses the stories that participants tell about their disabilities and links the notion of a "disabled body" to various conceptions of womanhood, responsibility, and spirituality.