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Differences in Medicine: Unraveling Practices, Techniques, and Bodies

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Overview

Western medicine—especially in contrast with non-Western traditions of medical practice—is widely thought of as a coherent and unified field in which beliefs, definitions, and judgments are shared. Marc Berg and Annemarie Mol debunk this myth with an interdisciplinary and intercultural collection of essays that reveals the significantly varied ways practitioners of “conventional” Western medicine handle bodies, study test results, configure statistics, and converse with patients .
Combining theoretical work with interviews and direct observation of the activities and interactions of doctors, nurses, technicians, and patients, the contributors to this volume provide comparative studies of specific cases. Individual chapters explore topics such as the contested domain of fetal surgery in a California hospital, the construction of gender identity before transsexual surgery in Germany, and differences in the treatment and definition of pain by two clinics in France. Differences in Medicine advances earlier studies on medicine’s social diversity and regional variations to expose significant differences in the presumptions and decisions that affect patients’ lives, and marks a dramatic development in both the study of medicine and in science studies generally.
Revealing the ways in which the bodies and lives of people are constructed as medical objects by practitioners, technologies, and textbooks, this collection calls for and initiates new, more textured investigations and theories of the body in medicine and the practice of science. It will open new discussions among medical and healthcare professionals as well as scholars in medical anthropology, science studies, sociology, philosophy, and the history of medicine.

Contributors.
Isabelle Baszanger, Marc Berg, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Monica J. Casper, Charis M. Cussins, Nicolas Dodier, Stefan Hirschauer, Annemarie Mol, Vicky Singleton, Susan Leigh Star, Stefan Timmermans, Dick Willems


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An outstanding example of some of the best work done at the research front of the field and of recent work that strives to go beyond both technological and social/cultural determinism.”—Alberto Cambrosio, McGill University

"This book, as part of a ‘second wave’ of science studies, advances our understanding of patients, bodies, and subjectivities in much the same way the first wave altered our understanding of objectivity and experimental practice."—Bruno Latour, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822321743
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Series: Body, Commodity, Text Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Berg is a researcher at the School of Health Sciences at Maastricht University.

Annemarie Mol is Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Twente.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Differences in Medicine: An Introduction 1
Performing Sexes and Genders in Medical Practices 13
Working on and around Human Fetuses: The Contested Domain of Fetal Surgery 28
Clinical Practice and Procedures in Occupational Medicine: A Study of the Framing of Individuals 53
Stabilizing Instabilities: The Role of the Laboratory in the United Kingdom Cervical Screening Programme 86
Inhaling Drugs and Making Worlds: The Proliferation of Lungs and Asthmas 105
Pain Physicians: All Alike, All Different 119
Missing Links, Making Links: The Performance of Some Atheroscleroses 144
Ontological Choreography: Agency for Women Patients in an Infertility Clinic 166
The Architecture of Difference: Visibility, Control, and Comparability in Building a Nursing Interventions Classification 202
Order(s) and Disorder(s): Of Protocols and Medical Practices 226
References 247
Index 267
Contributors 271
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