Under the Medical Gaze Facts and Fictions of Chronic Pain

ISBN-10: 0520223985

ISBN-13: 9780520223981

Edition: 2001

Authors: Susan Greenhalgh
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Description: This compelling account of the author's experience with a chronic pain disorder and subsequent interaction with the American health care system goes to the heart of the workings of power and culture in the biomedical domain. It is a medical whodunit full of mysterious misdiagnosis, subtle power plays, and shrewd detective work. Setting a new standard for the practice of autoethnography, Susan Greenhalgh presents a case study of her intense encounter with an enthusiastic young specialist who, through creative interpretation of the diagnostic criteria for a newly emerging chronic disease, became convinced she had a painful, essentially untreatable, lifelong muscle condition called fibromyalgia. Greenhalgh traces the ruinous effects of this diagnosis on her inner world, bodily health, and overall well-being.Under the Medical Gazeserves as a powerful illustration of medicine's power to create and inflict suffering, to define disease and the self, and to manage relationships and lives. Greenhalgh ultimately learns that she had been misdiagnosed and begins the long process of undoing the physical and emotional damage brought about by her nearly catastrophic treatment. In considering how things could go so awry, she embarks on a cogent and powerful analysis of the sociopolitical sources of pain through feminist, cultural, and political understandings of the nature of medical discourse and practice in the United States. She develops fresh arguments about the power of medicine to medicalize our selves and lives, the seductions of medical science, and the deep, psychologically rooted difficulties women patients face in interactions with male physicians. In the end,Under the Medical Gazegoes beyond the critique of biomedicine to probe the social roots of chronic pain and therapeutic alternatives that rely on neither the body-cure of conventional medicine nor the mind-cure of some alternative medicines, but rather a broader set of strategies that address the sociopolitical sources of pain.

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Book details

List price: $33.95
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 5/3/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.386
Language: English

Susan Greenhalgh is Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. She is the author of Under the Medical Gaze: Facts and Fictions of Chronic Pain , Cultivating Global Citizens: Population in the Rise of China , and Just One Child: Science and Policy in Deng's China . She is coauthor of Governing China's Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopolitics .

List of Tables and Figures
Understanding Chronic Pain
Prologue: Finding Dr. Right
Doing Biomedicine
The Initial Consultation: The Making of a "Fibromyalgic"
Medicating the "Fibromyalgic"-Arthritic Body
Producing the Good Patient
Doing Gender
A Most Pleasant Patient
Silent Rebellion and Rage
A Depression Worse than the Disease
A Losing Battle to Get Better
Struggling to Make the Treatment Work
"Accept It!" Alternative Medicines Offer Medicine for the Mind
A Life Shrunk, a Mind Gone Nearly Mad
Rebellion and Self-Renewal
A Second Opinion: The Unmaking of a "Fibromyalgic"
The Final Meeting: A Tale of Decline and a Denial
Out from under the Medical Gaze
Narrating Illness, Politicizing Pain
Conclusion: Re-viewing the Medicine of Chronic Pain
Epilogue: Speaking of Pain--On Stories, Cultural Recuperations, and Political Interventions
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