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A New History of Identity: A Sociology of Medical Knowledgeby David Armstrong
Synopses & Reviews
Medical texts provide a powerful means of accessing contemporary perceptions of illness and through them assumptions about the nature of the body and identity. By mapping these perceptions, from their 19th century focus on illness located in a biological body through to their 'discovery' of the psycho-social patient of the late 20th century, a history of identity, both physical and psychological, is revealed.
Book News Annotation:
Armstrong (sociology of medicine, King's College London) de-emphasizes individuals and social groups as agents of history—indeed does away with actors and agents entirely—to allow the anonymous eye of medicine to tell its own story of the past 150 years. He also sets out a creation story for Man, using medical texts to map His mutating identity. He did run into trouble identifying the object of medicine, which in another framework would be merely people, but adopts the term identity for later periods, and Man for the earlier to preserve the Biblical and anthropological sense of differentness from Nature.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
David Armstrong is at the School of Medicine, King's College London.
Table of Contents
Constructing the Body * Negotiating Death * Discovering Origins * Making the Body Move * Creating a Social Identity * Invoking Subjectivity * Instilling Agency * Confessing Death * Dimensionalizing Identity * Becoming a Risk * Death of the Old Hospital * Birth of Primary Care * Ecce Homo * Identity of the Observer * The Subject of Knowledge
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Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine