For a long time neglected by sociologists, healing provides a heuristic entry to the study of the social dynamics of corporeality. Based on a comparative analysis of healing narratives by cancer patients, this article discusses the social structuring of the healing experience. More precisely, it focuses on how class and, secondarily, gender shape these experiences. Based on a sociological analysis of the logics cancer patients mobilize to interpret their experiences this article first shows how the meaning of healing is related to different relations to the body, illness, doctors, and medicine as well as to the normal and the pathological. These dynamics of the social shaping of healing are then discussed in the light of the different dimensions of the physical habitus and the somatic cultures of cancer patients.
- social inequalities