Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and a leading cause of death for women worldwide. With advances in molecular engineering in the 1980s, hopes began to rise that a non-toxic and non-invasive treatment for breast cancer could be developed. These hopes were stoked by the researchers, biotech companies, and analysts who worked to make sense of the uncertainties during product development. In Making Sense Sophie Mützel traces this emergence of "innovative breast cancer therapeutics" from the late 1980s up to 2010, through the lens of the narratives of the involved actors. Combining theories of economic and cultural sociology, Mützel shows how stories are integral for the emergence of new markets; stories of the future create a market of expectations prior to any existing products; stories also help to create categories on what such a new market and its products are about. Making Sense uses thousands of press statements, media reports, scientific reports, and financial and industry analyses, and combines qualitative and large-scale computational text analyses, to illustrate these mechanisms, presenting a fresh view of how life-prolonging innovations can be turned into market products.
About the author
Sophie Mützel is Professor of Sociology at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland. She is the author of Making Meaning of the Move of the German Capital (2002).