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Negotiating Structural Vulnerability in Cancer Control

Edited by Julie Armin, Nancy J. Burke, and Laura Eichelberger

What can studies of the lived experiences of cancer contribute to the concept of structural vulnerability? Can a consideration of structural vulnerability enhance applied anthropological work in cancer prevention and control? To answer these questions, the contributors to this volume explore what it means to be structurally vulnerable; how structural vulnerabilities intersect with cancer risk, diagnosis, care seeking, caregiving, clinical-trial participation, and survivorship; and how differing local, national, and global political contexts and histories affect vulnerability. These case studies illustrate how quotidian experiences of structural vulnerability influence and are altered by a cancer diagnosis at various points in the continuum of care. In examining cancer as a set of diseases and biosocial phenomena, the contributors extend structural vulnerability beyond its original conceptualization to encompass spatiality, temporality, and shifts in both individual and institutional arrangements.

2019. 320 pp., 6 x 9

Volume Editors: Julie Armin, Nancy J. Burke, Laura Eichelberger

Contributors: Peter Benson, Karen Dyer, Simon Craddock Lee, James Quesada, Carolyn Sargent, Susan Shaw, Maria Stalford

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“This book would be an excellent choice for a graduate seminar in medical or applied anthropology. The editors accomplished their aim in this edited volume by expanding on the concept of structural vulnerability to explore such topics as spatiality and temporality. The book could be taught using the case study method by abstracting patient narratives to highlight negotiations between structural vulnerability and individual agency in health care decisions. In addition, several chapters offer applied anthropological solutions to address health policy challenges.”
—John S. Luque, Florida A&M University, Journal of Anthropological Research, Summer 2020


Chapter One. Introduction: Framing Cancer and Structural Vulnerability
Nancy J. Burke, Julie Armin, and Laura Eichelberger

Part One. Negotiating Vulnerability

Chapter Two. Cancer and Precarity: Rights and Vulnerabilities of West African Immigrants in France
Carolyn Sargent and Peter Benson

Chapter Three. Bringing the People into Policy: Managing Cancer among Structurally Vulnerable Women
Julie Armin

Chapter Four. Anxious Provocations: Engagements with Cancer Screening by the Medically Underserved
Susan Shaw

Chapter Five. The Familiarity of Coping: Kinship and Social Location in the Safety-Net Experience of Cancer
Simon Craddock Lee

Part Two. Mapping Institutions, Interventions, and Inequalities

Chapter Six. Connecting Rural Patients with Urban Hospitals across the Cancer Care Continuum: A View from Vietnam on a Global Problem
Maria Stalford

Chapter Seven. Stuck in the Middle: Patient Navigation and Cancer Clinical Trials Recruitment in the Safety Net
Nancy J. Burke

Chapter Eight. Colonial Legacies: Population Panics, Reproductive Control, and Cancer-Related Fertility Care in Puerto Rico
Karen Dyer

Chapter Nine. The Westernization Effect: Biocommunicable Cartographies, Epidemiologic (In)Visibilities, and the Cancer Transition Theory
Laura Eichelberger

Afterword: Revealing Erasures, Configuring Silences: Structural Vulnerability in Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Research
James Quesada