Using Freire’s Participatory Educational Method to Understand the Experience of Living With Chronic Illness in the Current Age of Globalization

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Many approaches and efforts have been used to better understand chronic diseases worldwide. Yet, little is known about the meaning of living with chronic illness under the pressures of globalization and neoliberal ideologies. Through Freire’s participatory educational method, this article presents an innovative approach to understanding the multiple dimensions of living with chronic illness. In this way, we hope to use an innovative approach to address the impact of globalization on the daily life of chronically ill people and thus expand to the body of knowledge on nursing.


This article uses Freire’s participatory educational method to understand the multiple dimensions of living with chronic illness.


This qualitative study follows an interpretive inquiry approach and uses a critical hermeneutic phenomenological method and critical research methodologies. Five participants were recruited for this participatory educational activity. Data collection methods included digitally recorded semistructured individual interviews and a Freire’s participatory educational method session. Data analysis included a thematic analysis.


Participants reported lacking adequate access to healthcare services because of insurance policies; a general perception that they were an unwanted burden on the healthcare system; and a general lack of government support, advocacy, and political interest. This research activity assisted participants to gain a new critical perspective about the condition of others with chronic diseases and thus provided an enlightening opportunity to learn about the illnesses and experiences of others and to realize that others experienced the same oppression from the healthcare system. Participants became agents of change within their own families and communities.


Chronic diseases cause many economic and social consequences in their victims. These findings urge us to move from merely acknowledging the difficulties of people who live with chronic illness in an age of globalization to taking the actions necessary to bring about healthcare, social, and political reform through a process of conscientization and mutual transformation.

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