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John I. MacArtney


Senior Researcher

I am a sociologist of health and illness with specific interests in the diagnosis of cancer, end of life and palliative care, and bereavement. I specialise in qualitative research and have used a range of methods including: narrative interviews and analysis, discourse analysis, and ethnography.

I am currently working with Prof Sue Ziebland and Julie Evans on a Cancer Research UK NAEDI funded international comparative study of patients’ experiences of lung or colorectal cancer diagnosis in England, Denmark and Sweden. The aim of the study is to provide new in-depth contextualisation of patient experiences of diagnosis through cross country comparison. The expectation is that this will help extend understanding of potentially modifiable factors known to influence speed of identification and diagnosis, and thus morbidity, stage at treatment and cancer survival.

Between 2013 and 2014 I worked on an Australian Research Council Linkage Project titled ‘Pathways to and through palliative care: A sociological study of patient, carer and clinician experiences at end of life’, with Associate Professor Alex Broom and Dr Emma Kirby. This project sought to explore patients’, carers’ and clinicians’ experiences of palliative and end-of-life care. Our aim was to provide new conceptual understandings of end-of-life and palliative care as relationally, culturally and ideologically mediated.

My doctoral research explored how people with cancer, who used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), came to understand their use of CAMs as part of a wider experience of healthcare and ‘self-health’. A significant goal of my thesis was to develop a conceptual understanding of peoples’ experiences of self-health in cancer healthcare. In particular, I explored how the self-health techniques and practices affected users’ experiences of diagnosis, on-going illness, and understandings of wellbeing.

I am available to co-supervise DPhil students.

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Recent Publications

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