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In the era of health democracy, where a patient’s right to be informed is not only widely advocated but also guaranteed by law, what is the real situation regarding patient information? Do patients receive the information that they request with regard to their diagnosis, prognosis or treatments? And what information do patients themselves give to their doctors? Drawing on observational research in hospitals and covering the exchanges between doctors and patients on the subject of cancer treatment and that of other pathologies, this book reveals that the practice of telling lies is widespread amongst parties on both sides of the medical relationship. With attention to the manner in which information of various types is withheld and the truth concealed on either side of the doctor-patient relationship, the author explores the boundaries between what is said and what is left unsaid, and between those who are given information and those who are lied to. Considering the misunderstandings that occur in the course of medical exchanges and the differences between the lies told by doctors and patients, An Anthropology of Lying: Information in the Doctor-Patient Relationship analyses the role of mendacity in the exercise of, and resistance to power. A fascinating study of the mechanisms at work and social conditions surrounding the accomplishment of lying in medical settings, this book casts fresh light on a subject that has so far been overlooked. As such, it will appeal not only to sociologists and anthropologists of health and medicine, but also to medical professionals.
Diagnostic procedures are emblematic of medical work. Scholars in the field of social studies of medicine identify diverse dimensions of diagnosis that point to controversies, processual qualities and contested evidence. In this anthology, diagnostic fluidity is seen to permeate diagnostic work in a wide range of contexts, from medical interactions in the clinic, domestic settings and other relations of affective work, to organizational structures, and in historical developments. The contributors demonstrate, each in their own way, how different agents ‘do diagnosis’, highlighting the multi-faceted elements of uncertainty and mutability integral to diagnostic work. At the same time, the contributors also show how in ‘doing diagnosis’ enactments of subjectivities, representations of cultural imaginaries, bodily processes, and socio-cultural changes contribute to configuring diagnostic fluidity in significant ways.
The question of recourse to self-medication arises at the intersection of two partly antagonistic discourses: that of the public authorities, who advocate the practice primarily for economic reasons, and that of health professionals, who condemn it for fear that it may pose a danger to health and dispossess the profession of expertise. This books examines the reality of self-medication in context and investigates the social treatment of the notion of autonomy ever present in the discourses promoting this practice. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in France, the author examines the material, cognitive, symbolic and social dimensions of the recourse to self-medication, considering the motivations and practices of the subjects and what these reveal about their relationship with the medical institution, while addressing the question of open access to medicines – a subject of heated debate between the actors concerned on themes such as competence, knowledge and responsibility. A rigorous analysis of the strategies adopted by individuals to manage the risks of medicines and increase their efficacy, Self-Medication and Society will appeal to sociologists and anthropologists with interests in health, illness, the body and medicine.
The contours of privacy its particular forms and our reasons for valuing it are numerous and varied. This book explores privacy's contours in a series of essays on such themes as the relationship between privacy and social accountability, privacy in and beyond anonymity, the psychology of privacy, and the privacy concerns of emerging information technologies. The book's international and multidisciplinary group of contributors provides rich insights about privacy that will be of great interest not only to the scholarly privacy community at large but also to professionals, academics, and laypersons who understand that the contours of privacy weave themselves throughout wide swaths of life in present-day society. The stylistically accessible yet scholarly rigorous nature of The Contours of Privacy, along with the diversity of perspectives it offers, set it apart as one of the most important additions to the privacy literature on the contemporary scene.
Starting with the hypothesis that not only human intelligence but also its antithesis 'intellectual disability' are nothing more than historical contingencies, C.F. Goodey's paradigm-shifting study traces the rich interplay between labelled human types and the radically changing characteristics attributed to them. From the twelfth-century beginnings of European social administration to the onset of formal human science disciplines in the modern era, A History of Intelligence and 'Intellectual Disability' reconstructs the socio-political and religious contexts of intellectual ability and disability, and demonstrates how these concepts became part of psychology, medicine and biology. Goodey examines a wide array of classical, late medieval and Renaissance texts, from popular guides on conduct and behavior to medical treatises and from religious and philosophical works to poetry and drama. Focusing especially on the period between the Protestant Reformation and 1700, Goodey challenges the accepted wisdom that would have us believe that 'intelligence' and 'disability' describe natural, trans-historical realities. Instead, Goodey argues for a model that views intellectual disability and indeed the intellectually disabled person as recent cultural creations. His book is destined to become a standard resource for scholars interested in the history of psychology and medicine, the social origins of human self-representation, and current ethical debates about the genetics of intelligence.

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