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Symposium on women's health: Breast health, health and ageing

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Product Description

By Lynne Hunt, Beverley McNamara, Eileen Clark

Published: 2003
ISBN: 978-1-921348-49-5
Pages: 88


'Y'know Mum, those breasts of yours have been really good to me. They fed me for three years' ... 'Well yes, AND they fed me for 18 months'. Their father looks across at me and smiles. 'I think we've all had a lot of pleasure from these breasts', he says.

These words from the two daughters and the partner of a woman, newly diagnosed with breast cancer, taken from one of the articles in this Special Issue serve to remind us that breasts are heavily invested with social significance. They feed babies, inspire lovers and artists, get cancer, cause body-image anxieties, and contribute to personal identities that must be reconstituted following mastectomy.

The focus of this special symposium on women's health in Health Sociology Review is on breasts. As such, it speaks to women's lives and to some of their joys and their greatest fears. In this symposium of papers we see revealed the interrelationship between culture, breasts, life stories and health care.

This special edition contains challenging, thoughtful and delightful accounts of the life, death, work and the role of breasts in contemporary western culture, while the health and ageing symposium explores women's lived experience of ageing, including articles on resilience and wellness in later life.

This symposium in Health Sociology Review not only provides a focus on breast health, it also raises methodological issues about the use of narrative in sociological research. All of the articles are based on qualitative research, often relying on the use of case studies and narrative. Perhaps this is not surprising given the intimate nature of the topic. I

Breast Health

As breast cancer is a significant cause of untimely death in Australian women, a focus on breasts is highly relevant to this symposium on women's health. It speaks to women's lives and to some of their joys and their greatest fears. In the symposium of papers presented we see revealed the interrelationship between culture, breasts, life stories and health care.

The journey is both informative and emotionally engaging. It offers interpretive respect for women's words while explicating the social world of breasted experience.

Women's Ageing

The changing demographic profile of Australia has resulted in the portrayal of ageing as a time of financial dependency and as a period that will have a major impact on national economic wellbeing. These views of ageing present unflattering stereotypes of old people as sick and dependent.

In Australia, most of the discourses on ageing come from a biomedical perspective, with little debate among sociologists about ageing, and no body of distinctively Australian work to match overseas studies in the sociology of ageing.

This symposium seeks to redress this lack and challenges the stereotypes of ageing by focusing on wellness and resilience in old age.

While the links between social capital and good health are widely recognised by health sociologists, few studies look specifically at older people. The examination of social capital in ageing in this symposium informs this lack and demonstrates a different way of understanding old age.

This special issue of Health Sociology Review is an important contribution in understanding health and illness; health policy, promotion and practice; equity, social justice, social policy and social work in relation to women's health and ageing.

Table of Contents

Symposium on Women's Health: Breast Health - Health & Ageing

Jane Shoebridge, Eileen Willis

Guest Editorial: Symposium on Women's Health: Breast health
Lynne Hunt, Beverley McNamara

Breast Sharing: Cross-feeding among Australian women
Debbie Long

Lifetimes of Limitation: Breast health and human finitude
Bethne Hart

You'll Never Hear Them Say 'You're Cured': The language of tragedy in cancer care
Katrina Breaden

Bad News: A narrative account of the subjective experience of mastectomy
Lekkie Hopkins

Reconstructing the Self: Breast cancer and the post-surgical body
Samantha Crompvoets

Troublesome Breasts: Older women living in the liminal state of being 'at risk' of breast cancer
Yoni Luxford

Guest Editorial: Symposium on the Sociology of Health and Ageing
Eileen Clark

Imagining the Third Age: Symbolic exchange and old age
Chris King

Social Capital: One source of wellness in older adults?
Eileen Clark, Terence McCann

Becoming a Wise Old Woman: Resilience and wellness in later life
Suzy Gattuso

Book Reviews

Palliative care and communication: Experiences in the clinic
Anne-Mei The (translated from the Dutch by Robert Pool)
Reviewed by Katrina Breaden

The Handbook of Social Studies in Health and Medicine
Gary Albrecht, Ray Fitzpatrick, and Susan Scrimshaw (eds)
Reviewed by Fran Collyer

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia: How to help
Marilyn Duker and Roger Slade
Reviewed by Lucie Ramjan

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