Cinzia Greco

Dr, PhD, Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, Dr

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Personal profile


After obtaining degrees in Italian Literature (University of Lecce-Salento), Cultural Anthropology (University of Bologna) and Gender Studies (École des hautes études en sciences sociales), I obtained a PhD in Health, Population and Social Policies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in 2016. My PhD research focused on post-mastectomy breast reconstruction and cosmetic surgery of the breast, and I have in particular explored the experiences and visions that patients and medical professionals have of these surgical procedures in France and Italy. My doctoral research was supported by a Social and Human Sciences doctoral scholarship of the Cancéropôle Île-de-France and was awarded the Barbara Rosenblum Dissertation Scholarship for the Study of Women and Cancer, of the Sociologists for Women in Society. My work is situated at the intersection of medical anthropology, gender studies and the contemporary history of medicine. For two years I was a Newton International Fellow, with a research on the recent history of metastatic breast cancer.

Since October 2018, I am a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow with a research project on how medical innovation and healthcare policy impact cancer patients.

Research interests

My current project, titled "Trajectories of cancer patients in therapeutic and political contexts: A multi-sited study" and funded by the Wellcome Trust, explores how therapeutic innovations and changes in healthcare policy have transformed the trajectories of patients with lung and breast cancer since the end of the 1980s in Greater Manchester and in Ile-de-France. The project combines an anthropological perspective with a historical one within a single theoretical framework. The key goals of this project are to critically rethink 1) the history of therapeutic innovations in breast and lung cancer and 2) of healthcare policies in the UK and in France since 1988, and 3) to explore, by employing the concept of patients’ trajectories, the embodied experience and the encounters with medical institutions and treatments of patients with breast and lung cancer. 

I have a longstanding interest in the experiences of patients, in the doctor-patient relationship between patients and in how patients navigate medical systems. I have a further interest in medical uncertainty, in the struggles some patients have to obtain a diagnosis, and in the ‘social life of diagnoses’, that is, the ways in which a diagnosis is recognised (or not) by other kinds of medical professionals and in other social contexts.   

I have more recently taken an interest in autism, especially in the inclusion in the category of previously under-recognised groups (including women, people diagnosed in adulthood, ethnic and racial minorities, and people with a working-class background) and in the links between larger transformations in sociality and the changes in autism

Prizes and awards

2018-2021: Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship in Humanities and Social Science

2016-2018: Newton International Fellowship  

2016: Barbara Rosenblum Dissertation Scholarship for the Study of Women and Cancer – Sociologists for Women in Society  

2011-2014: Social and Human Sciences doctoral scholarship – Cancéropôle Île-de-France  

Travel grants: 2014 – Feminist Theory Workshop, Duke University; 2013 – European Sociological Association general conference, PhD Workshop, Turin

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

Award Date: 31 Mar 2016

Master of Arts, Gender, Politics and Sexuality , Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

Award Date: 30 Oct 2011

Master of Arts, Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology , Universita Degli Studi Bologna

Award Date: 31 Jul 2010

Areas of expertise

  • GN Anthropology
  • Medical anthropology
  • Cancer
  • Gender
  • Neurodiversity


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