Once a synonym for death, cancer is now a prognosis of multiple probabilities and produces a world of uncertainty for carers. Drawing on rich, in-depth interview data and employing interactionist theories, Towards a Sociology of Cancer Caregiving explores carers' lived experiences, paying close attention to the ways in which spouse carers manage the ambiguity that pervades their orientations to the future, their responsibilities and their emotions. A detailed exploration of the temporal and emotional journeys of spouse carers of cancer patients, this volume raises and responds to new questions about how to conceptualise informal caregiving, offering a fresh theorisation of the uncertainty that now characterises cancer. As such, it will appeal to scholars of the sociologies of emotion, time and identity, and all those interested in the question of how to support informal carers.
’Olson’s book is packed with insights into an increasingly common, but rarely discussed experience, caring for family members who have a diagnosis of cancer. In laying the foundations for a sociology of cancer caregiving Olson reflects on a range of issues, including impacts on our orientation to time, role changes and mismatches between social expectations and emotional responses. Her argument is sociologically sophisticated whilst respecting issues of profound personal impact.’ Kevin Dew, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand ’This book is unique and incredibly timely, melding the sociology of emotions with the analysis of the contemporary dynamics of giving and receiving care in the context of cancer. It partners a concern with the contemporary political, cultural and economic mediation of informal care practices, with an explication of care as a truly lived and transformative experience. This book fills a significant gap within the literature and offers a much needed analysis that reveals challenging realities and hopeful possibilities, drawn from the everyday experiences of Australians caring for their spouses.’ Alex Broom, University of New South Wales, Australia