Annemarie Mol on what medicine is


Annemarie Mol will be giving a talk entitled “What medicine is” at the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) at Goldsmiths from 4pm to 6pm on Thursday 6 November 2008. Here is a PDF flyer for the event. Further details are available on the CSISP website. The abstract is reproduced below.

What medicine is

Annemarie Mol

In the social sciences, medicine has figured for decades as something to criticise. It deserved to be unmasked as (behind its helping face) it was really a matter of social control, or a mode of governing through discipline rather than punishment, or otherwise a place where doctors hold power over patients. These days, however, it is time to do something different. No, the point is not to be a better realist and to neutrally (rather than critically) describe medicine as it is. Instead, medicine deserves help. It is in urgent need of words that articulate its specificity in such a way that health care does not get completely colonised by (the logic of) the market (where doctors have products to sell to their customers), the state (that makes laws configuring patients as citizens), the protocol (that presumes that facts precede decisions, which precede actions, which precede evaluations), epidemiology (or rather the version of epidemiology that takes individuals to compose collectives), ethics (in as far as it separates deliberation from practice) and other rationalist endeavours. In my recent book The Logic of Care I have tried to provide such words and to articulate some of medicine’s tinkering techniques for living with fragile bodies, unruly diseases and unpredictable technologies in complex daily lives. The case that I analysed is that of diabetes care. This allows me to now take up the question of your seminar series ‘What is medicine?’ as if it has an answer.

[Reproduced from CSISP website]

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