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The Meaning of Appearance in Surviving Breast Cancer

Ozum Ucok
Human Studies
Vol. 28, No. 3 (Nov., 2005), pp. 291-316
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27642715
Page Count: 26
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The Meaning of Appearance in Surviving Breast Cancer
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Abstract

In line with some recent studies that emphasize the importance of embodied meanings in social interaction and face-to-face communication, this study recognizes the significance of the body in human meaning-making processes and contributes to the emerging studies that explore the relation of the body, self, and social interaction. Unlike studies that analyze the body as a symbol or text disconnected from the actual body (i.e., a representation), this study does not separate appearance from the body. Rather, this research explores embodied appearance and shows how a nonconforming appearance might highlight the body's presence in interaction, making it a focal point of attention in contrast to the taken-for-grantedness of our bodies in everyday life. I examine the reported experiences of some breast cancer survivors to find the implications of changes in physical appearance due to radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery, for survivors and their interactions with others.

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