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Title: The social construction of lung cancer : an analysis of representations of lung cancer in UK media
Author: Moore, S.
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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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.
Supervisor: Brindle, Lucy ; Corner, Jessica Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available