A Foucauldian Examination of Patient Subjectivity: A Case Study of Patients with Advanced Cancer Receiving Further Medical Treatment

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/308283
Category:
Abstract
Type:
Presentation
Title:
A Foucauldian Examination of Patient Subjectivity: A Case Study of Patients with Advanced Cancer Receiving Further Medical Treatment
Author(s):
Mohammed, Shan
Lead Author STTI Affiliation:
N/A
Author Details:
Shan Mohammed, RN, MN, shan.mohammed@utoronto.ca
Abstract:

Poster presented on: Saturday, November 16, 2013, Sunday, November 17, 2013

Background

Although life-threatening cancer cannot be cured, some patients with advanced disease still actively seek potentially life-extending treatment (e.g. clinical drug trials). Positioning individuals as passive recipients of care, previous studies have focused on the inability of patients to adequately understand their prognosis. Few studies have examined the broader social and clinical implications of this current phenomenon.

Purpose

By using Foucauldian theoretical ideas of discourse (rules of knowledge formation) and subjectivities (the individual as a subject), this study examines the social conditions that cultivate the active search for cancer therapy. The research question is: What are the competing discourses in operation when patients with life-threatening advanced cancer actively seek potentially life-extending medical treatments? The sub-question is: What kinds of subjectivities are constituted by these discourses when patients seek medical treatments?

 

Methods                                                                               

Seven qualitative case studies were collected that included 21 semi-structured interviews, documents, and observational field data. Cases included patients with severe metastatic cancer, family members, nurses, oncologists, palliative care physicians, field observations, and documents.

 

Findings

Two main groups of findings result:

1.)   Multiple discourses operate within this issue. Although medical discourse enacts a disciplinary force, several counter discourses threaten the prestige of medicine. Patients subvert the traditional hierarchical arrangement of disease knowledge and utilize their own understanding of medical science to self-advocate for treatment. In response to medicine’s inability to effectively treat advanced disease, discourses of self-healing emerge.

2.)   These discourses generate multiple patient subjectivities: The Cancer Expert Subject; The Productive Subject; The Proactive Subject; The Positive Thinking Subject; and The Suffering Subject.

Implications

Individuals who seek medical treatment comprise a new “form of life” that is produced by the conflicting discourses currently in operation. This study illuminates a different kind of suffering from cancer, generated from the sense of ambiguity and incongruence between the multiple subjectivities of patients.

Keywords:
Case Study; Critical Theory; Cancer
Repository Posting Date:
19-Dec-2013
Date of Publication:
19-Dec-2013
Conference Date:
2013
Conference Name:
42nd Biennial Convention
Conference Host:
Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing
Conference Location:
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Description:
42nd Biennial Convention 2013 Theme: Give Back to Move Forward. Held at the JW Marriott
Note:
This is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_GB
dc.type.categoryAbstracten_GB
dc.typePresentationen_GB
dc.titleA Foucauldian Examination of Patient Subjectivity: A Case Study of Patients with Advanced Cancer Receiving Further Medical Treatmenten_GB
dc.contributor.authorMohammed, Shanen_GB
dc.contributor.departmentN/Aen_GB
dc.author.detailsShan Mohammed, RN, MN, shan.mohammed@utoronto.caen_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/308283-
dc.description.abstract<p>Poster presented on: Saturday, November 16, 2013, Sunday, November 17, 2013</p><b>Background</b><p><b></b>Although life-threatening cancer cannot be cured, some patients with advanced disease still actively seek potentially life-extending treatment (e.g. clinical drug trials). Positioning individuals as passive recipients of care, previous studies have focused on the inability of patients to adequately understand their prognosis. Few studies have examined the broader social and clinical implications of this current phenomenon. <p><b>Purpose</b><p>By using Foucauldian theoretical ideas of discourse (rules of knowledge formation) and subjectivities (the individual as a subject), this study examines the social conditions that cultivate the active search for cancer therapy. The research question is: What are the competing discourses in operation when patients with life-threatening advanced cancer actively seek potentially life-extending medical treatments? The sub-question is: What kinds of subjectivities are constituted by these discourses when patients seek medical treatments? <p><b> </b><p><b>Methods                                                                                </b><p>Seven qualitative case studies were collected that included 21 semi-structured interviews, documents, and observational field data. Cases included patients with severe metastatic cancer, family members, nurses, oncologists, palliative care physicians, field observations, and documents. <p><b> </b><p><b>Findings </b><p>Two main groups of findings result: <p>1.)   Multiple discourses operate within this issue. Although medical discourse enacts a disciplinary force, several counter discourses threaten the prestige of medicine. Patients subvert the traditional hierarchical arrangement of disease knowledge and utilize their own understanding of medical science to self-advocate for treatment. In response to medicine’s inability to effectively treat advanced disease, discourses of self-healing emerge. <p>2.)   These discourses generate multiple patient subjectivities: The Cancer Expert Subject; The Productive Subject; The Proactive Subject; The Positive Thinking Subject; and The Suffering Subject. <p><b>Implications</b><p>Individuals who seek medical treatment comprise a new “form of life” that is produced by the conflicting discourses currently in operation. This study illuminates a different kind of suffering from cancer, generated from the sense of ambiguity and incongruence between the multiple subjectivities of patients.en_GB
dc.subjectCase Studyen_GB
dc.subjectCritical Theoryen_GB
dc.subjectCanceren_GB
dc.date.available2013-12-19T17:29:18Z-
dc.date.issued2013-12-19-
dc.date.accessioned2013-12-19T17:29:18Z-
dc.conference.date2013en_GB
dc.conference.name42nd Biennial Conventionen_GB
dc.conference.hostSigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursingen_GB
dc.conference.locationIndianapolis, Indiana, USAen_GB
dc.description42nd Biennial Convention 2013 Theme: Give Back to Move Forward. Held at the JW Marriotten_GB
dc.description.noteThis is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission.en_GB
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