By Regula Valérie Burri, Joseph Dumit
This quantity deals interdisciplinary views on modern biomedicine as a cultural perform. It brings jointly best students from cultural anthropology, sociology, historical past, and technological know-how stories to behavior a severe discussion at the culture(s) of biomedical perform, discussing its epistemic, fabric, and social implications. The essays examine the methods new biomedical wisdom is built inside hospitals and educational settings and at how this data adjustments perceptions, fabric preparations, and social kin, not just inside of clinics and clinical groups, yet in particular as soon as it truly is subtle right into a broader cultural context.
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Additional resources for Biomedicine as Culture: Instrumental Practices, Technoscientific Knowledge, and New Modes of Life
Such an optimal state can be achieved only through a technomedical reshaping of the body, paralleled by a refashioning of the self. As a result, the century-old tension between high-flying expectations and promises and the realization that the power of both physicians and medical drugs remains limited and precarious has been intensified. In modern societies, which are characterized by persisting and even increasing social inequalities and new forms of exclusion, this problem is also linked to the future of the welfare state and the general access to health care and medical treatment.
Hunt 1989; Barberi 2000; Trabant 2005) has enhanced the sensibility of transdisciplinary research for metaphoric operations and discursive “dispositives” (cf. Foucault 1991). This perspective includes not only medical practices but also the self-defi nition of patients—the so-called patient’s view. It also goes along with healing processes and the stability of social structures and with a confidence in shared mental models and in the power of phantasms, especially those linked with the “body as a battlefield” which is exposed to invasions of invisible enemies and has therefore to be defended (Vigarello 1988).
This identical aim, however, is pursued by highly diverse means and is accompanied by highly diverse understandings of disease. The main goal of a medical anthropology conceptualized along these lines would be to describe and understand this complexity and diversity in its dynamic cultural and social contexts. Such studies have been particularly helpful in elucidating problems encountered in medical service provision for immigrant populations or in the implementation of development programs in non-Western countries.