Medicine never takes places in a vacuum. Patients become ill in the context of work and family, physicians make diagnostic and therapeutic choices based on their professional training and institutional affiliations, researchers pose questions based on funding opportunities and the interests of their peers. Over the past half century, scholarship in medical history, anthropology, sociology, and the broader medical humanities has laid out the importance of these social contexts in finer and finer detail. Yet the spaces between patient, doctor, and scientist are not merely social: they are also mediated by textual and visual forms, which are expressed in a variety of media by paper and increasingly electronic technologies that make possible both intimate and global circulation of medical knowledge and practice.

 

Advertisements