Carmel Cardona

thesis Title:

Remaking the Self in Cancer Survivorship: Pleasure, Creativity and Embodiment.


In the contemporary UK context, a cancer diagnosis is devastating; it causes a temporal rupture, a major disruption of one’s anticipated life trajectory, and a significant threat to the self. This threat extends to all areas of one’s life, manifesting physically, temporally, psychosocially and interpersonally, posing a challenge to multiple facets of identity. Renegotiating one’s sense of self in the face of a cancer diagnosis requires navigating biomedical power structures, gender and corporeal norms, and working with and within hegemonic cancer culture. Although the number of people surviving cancer is dramatically increasing, the lived experience of survivorship is complex. As well as recalibrating one’s sense of self, people living post-cancer are navigating their relationship with ‘survivorship’ as a concept, dealing with iatrogenesis, coping with the impact on their sexuality and renegotiating relationships.

Based on the significant role that pleasure and sexuality play in subject formation, and the place of art and creativity in facilitating the remaking of the self, this UK-based research will investigate the ways in which people renegotiate their embodied sense of self following a breast cancer diagnosis, using arts-based research methods to explore the place of pleasure, embodiment and creativity in this process.

Social Media:

Substack –

LinkedIn – Instagram2

First Supervisor:

Dr Lucy van de Wiel


Pathway 3: Health, Biopolitics & Social Inequality