Marco Marzano, Virginia Romano

"I want to be like before...". Chronicity and normality in the stories of cancer sufferers

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The aim of the paper is to shed light on certain aspects of the everyday lives of cancer patients. Our discussion is based on the analysis of 30 in-depth interviews conducted with subjects suffering from advanced- stage tumours. For many of them, cancer had become a chronic disease which had forced to change their habits and life-projects, and above all to undertake difficult "emotional work" of self-control and censure so that they could continue to maintain social relations with "the healthy". The main strategy deployed by the patients to counter the risk of being "stigmatized" and "inferiorized" consisted in "normalization": that is an endeavour to keep the characteristics of their daily lives unchanged as long as possible. The principle objects of normalization were control and management of the body, work, and family relations.

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