The culture of contemporary medicine is the object of investigation in this book; the meanings and values implicit in biomedical knowledge and practice and the social processes through which they are produced are examined through the use of specific case studies. The essays provide examples of how various facets of 20th century medicine, including edu- cation, research, the creation of medical knowledge, the development and application of technology, and day to day medical practice, are per- vaded by a value system characteristic of an industrial-capitalistic view of the world in which the idea that science represents an objective and value free body of knowledge is dominant. The authors of the essays are sociologists and anthropologists (in almost equal numbers); also included are papers by a social historian and by three physicians all of whom have steeped themselves in the social sci- ences and humanities.
This co-operative endeavor, which has necessi- tated the breaking down of disciplinary barriers to some extent, is per- haps indicative of a larger movement in the social sciences, one in which there is a searching for a middle ground between grand theory and attempts at universal explanations on the one hand, and the context-spe- cific empiricism and relativistic accounts characteristic of many historical and anthropological analyses on the other.
I: The Social Sciences and Biomedicine.- Relationships between Society, Culture, and Biomedicine: Introduction to the Essays.- II: Mind, Body, Values, and Society.- Tenacious Assumptions in Western Medicine.- Mind and Body as Metaphors: Hidden Values in Biomedicine.- Psyche, Soma, and Society: The Social Construction of Psychosomatic Disorders.- III: Reproducing Medical Perception and Practice.- Medical Students and the Cadaver in Social and Cultural Context.- Patients, Physicians and Context: Medical Care in the Home.- Discourse, Descriptions and Diagnoses: Reproducing Normal Medicine.- IV: Medicine Evolving, Medicine Adapting.- Space and Time in British General Practice.- Thinking Prevention: Concepts and Constructs in General Practice.- Clinical Science and Clinical Expertise: Changing Boundaries Between Art and Science in Medicine.- V: Medical Construction of life Cycle Processes.- Babyhood: The Social Construction of Infant Care as a Medical Problem in England in the Years Around 1900.- Menopause as Process or Event: The Creation of Definitions in Biomedicine.- On the Boundary of Life and Death: The Definition of Dying by Medical Residents.- VI: Biomedical Knowledge and Practice Across Cultures.- A Nation at Risk: Interpretations of School Refusal in Japan.- Medical Practice in Response to a Folk Illness: The Treatment of Nervios in Costa Rica.- VII: Constructing the "Ordinary" out of the "Extraordinary".- Physicians and the Disclosure of Undesirable Information.- The Technological Imperative in Medical Practice: The Social Creation of a "Routine" Treatment.- The Social Construction of a Machine: Ritual, Superstition, Magical Thinking and Other Pragmatic Responses to Running a CT Scanner.- List of Contributors.- Author Index.
Series: Culture, Illness and Healing
Number Of Pages: 558
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers Group
Country of Publication: NL
Dimensions (cm): 24.23 x 16.51
Weight (kg): 1.01