Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 59–79 | Cite as

American oncology and the discourse on hope

  • Mary-Jo del Vecchio Good
  • Byron J. Good
  • Cynthia Schaffer
  • Stuart E. Lind
Article

Abstract

From the perspective of medical anthropology and comparative research, American oncology appears as a unique variant of international biomedical culture, particularly when contrasted with oncological practice in societies such as Japan and Italy. Based on interviews with 51 oncologists in Harvard teaching hospitals, this paper argues that American oncological practice draws on distinctive cultural meanings associated with “hope” and is infused with popular notions about the relationship between psyche and soma, the progressive efficacy of biotechnical interventions, truth-telling, and the nature of the physician-patient relationship.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary-Jo del Vecchio Good
    • 1
  • Byron J. Good
    • 1
  • Cynthia Schaffer
    • 1
  • Stuart E. Lind
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social MedicineHarvard Medical SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolUSA

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