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Title: Cervical Screening : women's resistance to the official discourse
Author: Armstrong, Natalie
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2005
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This study is an empirical exploration of Foucault's theoretical ideas on resistance, through a case study of cervical cancer screening and women's responses to the official discourse surrounding it. In England, this form of screening is organised through a national programme and consistently achieves coverage of over 80%. Given this high attendance it may appear that any resistance is negligible. However, this thesis argues that such a focus on attendance, or behaviour, is misguided and that, by focusing attention on the level at which the official discourse on screening is interpreted, understood and made sense of by individual women, it is possible to identify instances of thought and talk based resistance. Using qualitative interviews with a sample structured to include a range of ethnic backgrounds and ages, the thesis identifies three key forms of resistance. Firstly, women may resist the general subject position suggested within the official discourse and make sense of screening in ways that are meaningful to them as individuals. Secondly, many women resist the general 'at risk' status suggested and negotiate their own position drawing on a range of risk factors that do not always fit well with those medically recognised. Thirdly, in making sense of the information they receive, women frequently attempt to create a rational framework of knowledge and understanding which can lead to them interpreting issues such as risk factors or disease development in different ways. Based upon these, the thesis argues for conceptualising power and resistance in terms of a complex network of possibilities with multiple points of potential difference or divergence that can lead to individuals adopting very different subject positions. Although the majority of resistance detailed is thought and talk based, this is nevertheless important as it provides the means for challenges to the official discourse and constitutes a necessary prerequisite for further behavioural resistance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RA 421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine