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Discourse and the individual in cervical cancer screening

By Natalie Armstrong


This paper was published as Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 2007, 11 (1), pp. 69-85. It is available from Doi: 10.1177/1363459307070804Metadata only entryThe official discourse on cervical screening, disseminated to women through the information material they receive when called to attend, is important for the ways in which it presents screening to women and encourages them to think about it. However, because this material is nationally produced it is designed to address a large number of women and, as a result, is necessarily general and uniform in nature. This article uses qualitative interview data to explore how individual women interpret, negotiate and make sense of this discourse in the context of their personal circumstances, experiences and characteristics; therefore producing alternative conceptualizations of, and discourses upon, cervical screening. Foucault's work on ‘technologies of the self’ is employed in order to suggest that these practices of individualization can be seen as the means through which a space is opened up between discourse and the individual. Within such a space the working out of individual subject positions is possible

Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1363459307070804
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