A Natural History of Family Cancer: Interactional Resources for Managing Illness (Wayne A. Beach)
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Title: A Natural History of Family Cancer
Sub-title: Interactional Resources for Managing Illness
Awards or Commendations: Winner of: "Outstanding Book Award--NCA Health Communication Division" and
Winner of: "Outstanding Scholarly Publication Award--NCA Language & Social Interaction Division"
Author(s): Wayne A. Beach
Publish Date: June 2009
|Family members and cancer patients routinely talk about and through cancer on the telephone. Yet little is known about the social organization of these conversations and how cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis impact everyday living. The culmination of a decade of research, this volume offers close examination of the first natural history of one family’s 13 month journey through a wife/mother/sister’s terminal cancer. From diagnosis through death of a loved one, analysis of these 61 family phone recordings (and transcriptions) offers primal insights about the fundamental importance of communication. Family members continually rely on one another when navigating through complex social, emotional, technical, and biomedical concerns associated with cancer: Updating and assessing emerging news, being stoic, claiming and defending knowledge, reporting and responding to ongoing troubles, making airline reservations, adjusting to stable yet ambiguous health circumstances, displaying frustration, commiserating, maintaining a ‘state of readiness’, evaluating doctors and medical care, telling and retelling stories, being humorous and playful, and constructing hope as an alternative to despair. These interactions reveal no small measures of personal challenges, emotional turmoil, humorous exchanges, endearing actions, and resolute efforts to remain hopeful in the progressive face of bad cancer news.
Moments such as these are extraordinary and mundane, foreign yet strikingly familiar to all who have encountered them when matters of illness, disease, life, and death move to the forefront and require our attention. Readers will not only gain enhanced understandings of ordinary human interactions, but a deep appreciation for managing the trials, tribulations, hopes and triumphs of cancer – and all human illness journeys shaped by communication in everyday life.
Praise for A Natural History of Family Cancer
”This is a stunning, important, and exceptional book…A skilful application of the method Conversation Analysis and one of the very rare works examining longitudinal interactional data.”
Anssi Peräkylä, University of Helsinki, author of Aids Counseling: Institutional Interaction and Clinical Practice
”Part of the beauty and power of this book [is that] we can see ourselves in their challenges; we can hear ourselves in their ways of talking…Wayne Beach guides the reader with skill and mastery.”
Phillip Glenn, Emerson College, author of Laughter in Interaction
”Professor Wayne Beach has done for the field of conversation and interaction analysis what Dr. George Engel, a physician and the father of the biopsychosocial model, did for medicine…With precision and sensitivity, his analysis provides intimate access to the development, maintenance and termination of meaningful relationships over time.”
Richard M. Frankel, Indiana University, co-editor of The Biopsychosocial Approach: Past, Present, and Future
Contents: Foreword, Douglas W. Maynard. Introduction. COMMUNICATION, INTERACTION AND FAMILY CANCER. Communication and Family Cancer Journeys The “Malignancy” Phone Call Corpus: Analyzing Episodic and Longitudinal Interactions. INITIAL CONVERSATIONS ABOUT MOM’S DIAGNOSIS. Between Dad and Son: Delivering, Receiving, and Assimilating Bad Cancer News. Between Mon and Son: Talking about “The Verdict”. MANAGING LIVES IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY AND CRISIS. Making the Case for Airline Compassion Fares: The Serial Organization of Problem Narratives. Stability and Ambiguity: Living in Flux With Mom’s Cancer. State of Readiness: Figurative Constructions and the Social Construction of Emergency Preparedness. REPORTING AND ASSESSING MEDICAL CARE. “So what’d the doctor have to say”: Lay Reportings about Doctors, Medical Staff, and Technical Procedures. “she likes the doctor ho:ly Christ come on”: Positive and Negative Assessments of Doctors and Medical Care. ENDURING AND ENDEARING MOMENTS ACROSS CALLS. “Sh:i:t ... Yeah $I know.$: Sharing Commiserative Space and Claiming Epistemic Authority. Stories-in-a-Series: Tellings and Retellings about Cigarettes, Devastation, and Hair. Secular, Spiritual, and Social Scientific Conceptions of Hope (and Optimism). “Well where’s our magic wand mom ... Beats the hell out of me.”: The Interactional Organization of Hope and Optimism. PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE PERSPECTIVES Epilogue: Journeying through Cancer Interactionally. Retrospective Interview with Family Members: Eighteen Years Following Diagnosis. References. Author & Subject Index.