Article published in:Narrative Matters in Medical Contexts across Disciplines
Edited by Franziska Gygax and Miriam A. Locher
[Studies in Narrative 20] 2015
► pp. 167–182
Attending to histories and methods in medical humanities; Or, doing critical medical studies
In this essay, I take the field of medical humanities itself, and the best practices associated with the field, as an object of analysis. I begin by offering a close reading of a particular narrative of the emergence of the field of medical humanities, in order to consider the ways in which some narratives of field emergence perform certain exclusions, covering over other possible trajectories for the field in the present. In particular I am interested in the ways that these field emergence narratives constitute medical humanities as founded on the exclusion of theory and politics from the field. I then argue against an approach that would simply add illness narratives to medical education in favor of what I call critical medical studies, an undisciplined and transversal approach that ranges across disciplines, concepts, and milieus in an attempt to demonstrate a way to think and do medicine differently, by paying more attention to the longue durée of disease and the interdisciplinarity of illness. Finally, I explore very briefly two examples of doing critical medical studies at the end of this paper, first in Annemarie Mol’s (2002) praxiographic analysis in The Body Multiple of the medical condition atherosclerosis as a multiple though not fragmented object, and finally in my own analysis of David B.’s (2005) graphic narrative, L’Ascension du Haut Mal, about his brother’s experience of epilepsy, which I argue creates a heterotopic space of possibility in and for medicine.
Published online: 13 March 2015
Ashmore, Malcolm, Mulkay, Michael J., & Pinch, Trevor J.
(1989) Health and efficiency: A sociology of health economics. Milton Keynes, UK: Open University Press.
(2004) Epileptic. (K. Thompson, Trans.) Reprint, 2005. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.
Carson, Ronald A.
(2008) Narrative medicine: Honoring the stories of illness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(1967) Psychiatry and anti-psychiatry. London: Tavistock.
Deleuze, Gilles, & Guattari, Félix
(1983) Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia (R. Hurley, M. Seem & H.R. Lane, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
(1987) A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia (B. Massumi, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
(1994) The birth of the clinic: An archaeology of medical perception. New York, NY: Vintage. [English translation first published 1973, Tavistock.]
(2002) Complications: A surgeon’s notes on an imperfect science. New York, NY: Picador.
(1989) The illness narratives. Suffering, healing and the human condition. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Oxford English dictionary online (2011) Retrieved from http://www.oed.com
(2009) Works of illness: Narrative, picturing and social responses to serious disease. London: Inkermen Press.
Snow, Charles P.
(1998) The two cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cited by other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 28 june 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.