University of Calgary

Arthur W. Frank

  • Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.

Most Significant Accomplishments

A.W. Frank, At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness. Boston: Houghton Mifflin: 1991. New 2002 edition with an Afterword. The winner of the 1996 Writers’ Award from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (Washington, D.C.), this book has been translated in four languages and anthologized in multiple scholarly and trade anthologies on medical sociology and illness experience. The concept of “the remission society” is frequently cited.
A.W. Frank, The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995. This book remains one of the most cited works on illness experience and narrative ethics; it has been translated into Japanese. It has been anthologized in several of the best-selling medical sociology texts, including those edited by Peter Conrad and Kathy Charmaz. The framework of the restitution, chaos, and quest narratives of illness has been used in numerous articles and books and become part of the vocabulary of medical sociology and humanities in medicine.
A.W. Frank, The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to Live. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004. This book expands the scope from illness experience to include stories of physicians and nurses. Generosity is presented as an antidote to demoralization in both the receiving and giving of medical care. Setting personal stories with a framework including multiple philosophers, the book shows the possibility of generosity and its moral importance.
A.W. Frank, “Emily Scars: Surgical Shapings, Technoluxe, and Bioethics.” The Hastings Center Report, March-April 2004, 34, no. 2, 18-29. This article is my contribution to the Hastings Center working group on “Surgically Shaping Children,” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (US). A revised version of this article has appeared in the edited volume from the working group (Surgically Shaping Children, Erik Parens, ed., Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).
A.W. Frank, “Asking the Right Question about Pain: Narrative and Phronesis.” Literature and Medicine, Fall 2004, 23, no. 2, 209-225. The editorial preface to the issue describes the article as making “several significant moves, offering nothing less than a new model of reading…Frank breaches the formal divide between text and reader, insisting that we recognize that a story is not a static object but exists amid multiple relationships.” The article is presented as having both clinical implications in the treatment of pain, as well as being a new model for the narrative study of medicine.

Research Overview

Illness experience, health care, and bioethics; Narrative Inquiry and Narrative Practice; Sociology of the Body, Sociological Theory


Journal Article


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