This paper was published as Health Risk and Society, 2005, 7 (2), pp. 161-176. It is available from http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/13698570500108644. Doi: 10.1080/13698570500108644Metadata only entryThis paper explores how individual women deal with, and react to, the very general information on cervical cancer risks they receive when invited to attend for cervical screening, and the general 'at risk' position that is suggested to them through the official discourse on screening and re-enforced by the uniform approach taken by the UK programme. By presenting data from a qualitative interview study it demonstrates how women respond to the presentation of risk in diverse and dynamic ways, and engage in a process of 'self-positioning' that individualises cervical cancer risk and makes it relevant to them as individuals. Within this process women draw on a range of risk themes that they regard as relevant to cervical cancer and implicated in its development. These are discussed in a range of ways, indicating that such risk themes do not exist in a vacuum but are situated within particular social and cultural contexts. I argue that, while the conceptualisation of risk as one of the strategies employed within neo-liberal forms of government to create particular kinds of individuals is useful, it is in danger of focusing too much attention on how individuals are controlled instead of how they respond to such attempts
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