Narratives and Lives
Women's Health Politics and the Diagnosis of Cancer For Des Daughters
This paper considers how social structure and available cultural discourses are connected to and reflected in narratives by two DES cancer daughters—women who have had vaginal cancer as a result of their prenatal exposure to DES, a drug prescribed to their mothers to prevent miscarriage. In a narrative analysis of in-depth interviews, it shows how the construction of scientific knowledge about DES, and social/political knowledge produced by women's health activists, shaped relationships between DES daughters and their doctors when they were diagnosed with cancer. It locates terrains of power and resistance in their lives, placing them in historically and culturally specific medical and feminist contexts, in order to highlight the presence and play of power in their relationships with and responses to the news of cancer given to them by their doctors. It also explores the joint production of narratives by interviewer and subject, as well as the influence of dominant and emerging discourses on the researcher's and subject's sense making strategies and knowledge production.
Published online: 17 April 2000
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