Suffering at the end of life as a collective process: Reflections from a program of qualitative research in palliative and end-of-life care Event as iCalendar

07 February 2018

3:30 - 4:30pm

Venue: 503-024

Location: Grafton Campus, 85 Park Road, Grafton

Contact email:

A picture of professor Alex Broom
Professor Alex Broom


Drawing on his new co-authored book (Routledge 2017, with Ana Dragojlovic) Bodies and Suffering: Emotions and Relations of Care, Professor Alex Broom will outline a series of considerations for how we might think differently about human suffering.

In particular, he will focus on challenging how suffering is often ‘treated’ in healthcare settings. He will also discuss his new model of suffering that positions it as a relational entity that moves across persons, relationships, settings and even generations.

More than a decade of work with oncology doctors and nurses and people has shaped his outlook. Alex posits that suffering-in-practice challenges the assumed borders between people, often concealing the true ‘nature’ of suffering as negotiated, contingent and collectively orchestrated.

During his talk he will explain the importance of refocusing on the desires and emotions of clinicians, patients and families that underpin therapeutic processes and disease trajectories (e.g. desire for recovery, for death, for survival, for hope, for recognition, for truth telling, for acceptance). Such affective atmospheres are often concealed when we ‘treat’ individual biophysical suffering simplistically, with deleterious effects in a range of clinical settings


Alex Broom is both Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Practical Justice Initiative at The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. He is recognised as an international leader in the sociology of health and illness, and is particularly concerned with fostering greater inclusion of patient, community and consumer voices and experiences in the character and delivery of healthcare.


For queries or further information, please email Dr Aileen Collier.


Alex Broom Flyer
A printer-friendly flyer for this event (265.1 kB, PDF)