Contested Authority

Catherine Belling

in A Condition of Doubt

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199892365
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199950096 | DOI:
Contested Authority

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This chapter expands on the idea that hypochondria results from discrepancies between doctors' and patients' expectations of medicine, and from gaps in the language used to establish and articulate those expectations. The chapter is framed by a lecture the broadcaster Alistair Cooke gave in 1972 to the Royal College of Physicians of London. In it, speaking as a hypochondriac, he challenged medicine's authority and discourse by interrogating distinctions between “hypochondria,” “hypochondriasis,” and “hysteria,” both indirectly diagnosing the medical profession itself with a kind of hypochondria and presenting the condition not as pathology but as the “layman's speciality.”

Keywords: Alistair Cooke; hypochondria; hypochondriasis; hysteria; medical discourse; medical authority

Chapter.  7201 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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