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The social construction of lung cancer: an analysis of representations of lung cancer in UK media

The social construction of lung cancer: an analysis of representations of lung cancer in UK media
The social construction of lung cancer: an analysis of representations of lung cancer in UK media
Lung cancer is a commonly occurring cancer in the United Kingdom. However, little attention has been directed at understanding meanings in relation to the disease, and how these are socially constructed. This thesis examines representations of lung cancer in media stories to explore how the disease is constructed and with what effects.
Drawing on a social constructionist approach, media stories are understood as public places or sites in which meanings about the world are produced and reproduced through language and discourse. Media portrayals of lung cancer are examined for their content and how they may function to construct meanings and knowledge about lung cancer and people who develop the disease. Media portrayals of breast cancer are used to compare and contrast how the two diseases are portrayed in order to identify differences that may have implications for the construction of meanings.
The analysis identifies that media stories draw heavily on discourses that associate lung cancer with death and smoking. It is suggested that stories also draw on wider cultural discourses in which health and dying are constructed as moral issues. As a consequence, lung cancer is constructed as a potentially blameworthy death and thereby unworthy of public attention and support. In contrast, media stories about breast cancer draw on discourses that associate the disease with survival and factors that suggest women as ‘at risk’ rather than the cause of the disease. As a consequence, breast cancer is constructed as an indiscriminate threat and, as such, worthy of public attention.
The thesis argues that media representations are illustrative of the social processes and conditions involved in the production and sustenance of lung cancer stigma.
Moore, S
622ecd40-b30f-45f1-988e-d49ce82fc8fb
Moore, S
622ecd40-b30f-45f1-988e-d49ce82fc8fb
Brindle, Lucy
17158264-2a99-4786-afc0-30990240436c
Corner, Jessica
eddc9d69-aa12-4de5-8ab0-b20a6b5765fa

Moore, S (2014) The social construction of lung cancer: an analysis of representations of lung cancer in UK media. University of Southampton, Faculty of Health Sciences, Doctoral Thesis, 353pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Lung cancer is a commonly occurring cancer in the United Kingdom. However, little attention has been directed at understanding meanings in relation to the disease, and how these are socially constructed. This thesis examines representations of lung cancer in media stories to explore how the disease is constructed and with what effects.
Drawing on a social constructionist approach, media stories are understood as public places or sites in which meanings about the world are produced and reproduced through language and discourse. Media portrayals of lung cancer are examined for their content and how they may function to construct meanings and knowledge about lung cancer and people who develop the disease. Media portrayals of breast cancer are used to compare and contrast how the two diseases are portrayed in order to identify differences that may have implications for the construction of meanings.
The analysis identifies that media stories draw heavily on discourses that associate lung cancer with death and smoking. It is suggested that stories also draw on wider cultural discourses in which health and dying are constructed as moral issues. As a consequence, lung cancer is constructed as a potentially blameworthy death and thereby unworthy of public attention and support. In contrast, media stories about breast cancer draw on discourses that associate the disease with survival and factors that suggest women as ‘at risk’ rather than the cause of the disease. As a consequence, breast cancer is constructed as an indiscriminate threat and, as such, worthy of public attention.
The thesis argues that media representations are illustrative of the social processes and conditions involved in the production and sustenance of lung cancer stigma.

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Published date: August 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Faculty of Health Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 372913
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/372913
PURE UUID: 3ca0fe37-dc97-49c3-bfa7-47c079cfb53f
ORCID for Lucy Brindle: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8933-3754

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Date deposited: 19 Jan 2015 13:10
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:41

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Contributors

Author: S Moore
Thesis advisor: Lucy Brindle ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Jessica Corner

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