Review: Ross Gray & Christina Sinding (2002). Standing Ovation: Performing Social Science Research about Cancer


  • Mary Gergen Penn State University



breast cancer, oncology, performance art, collaborative learning, community theatre, health practitioners, Canadian health system


Standing Ovation describes the development of a theatrical performance about people with metasticized breast cancer, which was developed for hospital personnel, cancer patients, their family members, and the public. The authors, members of a research team based at Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre, were joined by actors who either came from an actor's studio or who were patients or activists in the breast cancer community. The goal was to create a drama based on focus group material collected around the question of what information should be given to metastasized breast cancer patients, and from interviews with oncologists. The book is accompanied by a video-tape of the performance. Thus, one is able to see the outcome of the ethnographic studies and artistic endeavors that are described in the book. The book and videotape are unique contributions to the literature on relations with patients who have very serious diseases. The hopeful, yet reasonable, perspective on this difficult situation is very well presented in the book and videotape. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0303127


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Author Biography

Mary Gergen, Penn State University

Mary GERGEN ( is Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at Penn State Delaware County in Media, PA, USA. Her academic interests are often found at the intersection of feminist and social constructionist theories. Her most recent book is Feminist Reconstructions in Psychology: Narrative, Gender (2001, Sage). She is also the editor of Toward a New Feminist Psychology: A Reader, with Sara N. DAVIS (1999, Routledge), and is co-editor with Kenneth J. GERGEN of Social Constructionism: A Reader (2003, Sage). She is co-founder of the Taos Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the expansion of social constructionist ideas in various professional practices, including therapy and organizational development. In a previous issue of FQS Mary GERGEN reviewed "The Qualitative Inquiry Reader" (, edited by Norman K. DENZIN and Yvonna S. LINCOLN.




How to Cite

Gergen, M. (2003). Review: Ross Gray & Christina Sinding (2002). Standing Ovation: Performing Social Science Research about Cancer. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 4(3).