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Representations, Forbidden Representations, and the Unrepresentable: Creating Visibility for Mapping Emancipatory and Transformative Nursing Praxis

Aluwihare-Samaranayake, Dilmi S. MSN, MBA

Advances in Nursing Science:
doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000037
Original Articles

This article illustrates how different meanings are attested and contested in representations, forbidden representations, and the unrepresentable. Reflecting on real-life events and from a critical perspective, this analysis illustrates how shared representations and their language penetrate into spaces that we call reality and that these representations, forbidden representations, and the unrepresentable have profound influence on people's daily practices. Because of the influence these representations have on the health and well-being of individuals, there is a need for the development of multidimensional, interdisciplinary, and integrated approaches to care. Discourse promoting awareness of a critical representation perspective and the importance of practicing affirmative, emancipatory, and transformative nursing praxis for social justice should be included.

Author Information

Faculty of Nursing, Level 3, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Correspondence: Dilmi S. Aluwihare-Samaranayake, MSN, MBA, 75/4 Kynsey Rd, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka (;

The author is grateful to Drs Brenda Cameron and Maria del Pilar Carmargo and the NURS 610 course of the PhD program, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, for the open learning environment in which this philosophical discourse was allowed to emerge. The author acknowledges the editor of this journal and the reviewers of this article for their sage advice and insightful criticisms. Finally, the author thanks her husband Ajit, children Ajay and Anila, her parents Arjuna and Dona, and all her friends for their boundless support.

The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2014Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins