A symmetrical approach to mammal cancer: Heterogeneity, regulation and embodiment

Jorge Leandro Castillo Sepúlveda, Francisco Javier Tirado Serrano, Marsha Rosengarten

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is commonly described as the uncontrolled reproduction of abnormal cells in the body. This definition enacts the disease as a local process, whose temporality is linear. In this article we challenge this approach, from a case study on breast cancer, analysed from the actor-network theory. Starting from the conception of disease as a material-semiotic trajectory, we establish the role of regulation and the processes of pre-symptomatic diagnosis in the materiality of cancer. Echoing the proposal of Alfred North Whitehead, we define cancer as a potential object. Then, we describe how biomedical propositions are articulated in patients, affect their anatomy and establish an authentic embodiment, which acts as a socio-material assemblage. We conclude that it is necessary to think about interventions that consider the heterogeneity of the material aspects that come with cancer, conceived from this perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-185
JournalAthenea Digital: Revista de Pensamiento e Investigacion Social
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012


  • Articulación
  • Corporización
  • Cáncer
  • Objetividad regulatoria
  • Whitehead


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