What is pain? Has the experience of pain always been the same? How is pain related to the emotions, to culture, and to pleasure? What happens to us when we feel pain? How does pain work in the body and in the brain?
In this Very Short Introduction, Rob Boddice explores the history, culture, and medical science of pain. Charting the shifting meanings of pain across time and place, he focuses on how the experience and treatment of pain have changed. He describes historical hierarchies of pain experience that related pain to social class and race, and the privileging of human states of pain over that of other animals. From the pain concepts of classical antiquity to expressions of pain in contemporary art, and modern medical approaches to the understanding, treatment, and management of pain, Boddice weaves a multifaceted account of this central human experience. Ranging from neuroscientific innovations in experimental medicine to the constructionist arguments of social scientists, pain is shown to resist a timeless definition. Pain is physical and emotional, of body and mind, and is always experienced subjectively and contextually.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
enlightening, easy to read ... This book is "a must read" for anyone who thinks they have accessed everything they need to on the topic of pain. * Ibadete Fetahu, Nursing Times *
Written with dexterity, concision and clarity ... this is a very impressive short book about a polymorphous and highly elusive subject that combines first hand research, useful summaries of current debates, and explorations for future inquiries. * Javier Moscoso, History of Emotions Blog *
Introduction 1: Pathos, Passion, Algos, Dolor 2: Pain and Piety 3: Pain and the Machine 4: Pain and Civilisation 5: Sympathy, Compassion, Empathy 6: Pain as Pleasure 7: Pain in Modern Medicine and Science 8: Chronic Pain 9: Cultures of PainReferencesFurther ReadingIndex