Det' bar bryster - Screening i et risikoperspektiv: en analyse af hvordan mammografiscreening og dens fordele og ulemper fremstilles og fortolkes af producenter og konsumenter set i lyset af den senmoderne risikotænkning

Publikation: Ph.d. afhandling/ kandidat/ diplomMasterFormidling

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The purpose of this master thesis is to examine how advantages and disadvantages of screening for breast cancer are stated and explained by providers and recipients of information in a world characterized by a growing risk mentality. And to involve a gender aspect to show if and how gender plays a part in this context.

The theoretical background for this master thesis is a selection of the works of professor of sociology, Polish born, Zygmunt Bauman, and the German sociologist, Ulrich Beck, and his key work “The Risk Society” supplemented by the critical eye on the health industry by the Austrian philosopher, Ivan Illich, and theories of the transparent body by the Dutch professor of media and culture, José van Dijck, who has analysed medical imaging in a cultural context. Also the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s power and knowledge theories and finally, regarding the gender aspect the theories of the American professor, Judith Butler, and the Australian professor of sociology, Kevin White, have contributed to the theoretical frame of my thesis.

I have used the critical discourse analysis of the British linguist, Norman Fairclough, as my method combined with a method of interpretation of opinion as described by the Norwegian professor of educational psychology, Steiner Kvale.

The background for my research is that since January 2008 Danish women between 50 and 70 years have been invited to screening for breast cancer every second year. The invitations are sent to women with an appointment already made, which has caused debate and critical comments in the media. As a matter of fact, more than 80 per cent of the women attend the screening, which, as my conclusions indicate, is due to the facts that individuals of the second modernity are eager to seek protection against the growing amount of dangers, such as deadly diseases, that people to a high extent rely on the mechanical-clinical eye to provide not only a diagnosis but also a cure, and that women are easily convinced that screening is good for them, because they are used to that their bodies being regarded as different and their cycle of life being medicalized.

As foundation for my research I have examined and compared the information folder published by the Danish National Board of Health (Sundhedsstyrelsen) and sent to all women in the target group together with the invitation with an alternative folder published by a group of doctors who are critical of the Danish National Board of Health folder, which in their opinion emphasizes the advantages and minimizes the disadvantages.

I have also interviewed two women from the target group, one who believes in screening, and one who does not. The interviews took place after the two women had read both information folders, and the purpose was to find out if the argumentation in the folders could make them consider changing their minds. My findings illustrate that none of them changed their minds or even considered doing so. None of them believed in the argumentation of the folder, they disagreed with, and my conclusion is that opinion overrules argumentation in this matter.

This I ascribe to the fact that many women already have a firm and determined opinion on whether screening for breast cancer is an advantage or the opposite. And that as an authority the Danish National Board of Health has power and position to make women listen without having to explain and persuade.

Therefore, the results of this master thesis call for an examination of how information in folders to various groups of citizens is stated and explained, as there is no doubt that in the future more screenings and other kinds of prevention will become part of people’s everyday life, which means that everyone will be forced to consider if they are going to participate or not.

StatusUdgivet - 1 jun. 2009


  • Medier, kommunikation og sprog