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Pathways and prospects in cancer research: Securing futures and negotiating boundaries

Hillman, Alexandra ORCID:, Lewis, Jamie ORCID: and Elwyn, Glyn 2017. Pathways and prospects in cancer research: Securing futures and negotiating boundaries. BioSocieties 12 10.1057/s41292-017-0036-5

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This paper draws on literature from the sociology of expectations to explore accounts of experts in cancer research and clinical practice. The cancer specialists’ accounts presented in this article are taken from interviews undertaken as part of a project that aimed to develop a research agenda for the next ten to thirty years that will achieve early detection and prevention in the four main cancers: (i) bowel and colorectal, (ii) prostate, (iii) lung and (iv) breast. Drawing on secondary analysis of the interviews, this article provides a sociological exploration of both the experts’ versions of the future and the interactions between the interviewer and research participant to show expectation in the making: the competing stories of what is and what ought to be the focus of cancer research now and in the (near) future. The building of a cancer research agenda is shown to be a contested future, represented by a dominant and resistant view of the cancer problem, in which cancer specialists must engage in performative strategies and boundary work to frame the present problem: what cancer is and how it can be detected and, subsequently, to claim credibility for a future pathway.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 1745-8552
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 July 2017
Date of Acceptance: 5 December 2016
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 16:55

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