David B. Morris

in Illness and Culture in the Postmodern Age

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780520208698
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926240 | DOI:

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The vision of postmodern illness as biocultural has offered a way to understand some of the confusions we are living through. It provides a corrective to the modernist belief that knowledge of disease at the molecular level will inevitably produce effective treatments. Molecules alone, however, cannot wholly account for the human experience of illness. Meanwhile, the microbes responsible for many illnesses keep changing, often in response to changes introduced by humans into the surrounding culture. The one nonscientific discipline that has found a relatively secure place within contemporary medicine is bioethics. In the clinic or office, doctors regularly confront situations that impinge on the rights of the patient. They must deal not only with patients but also with insurance companies, lawyers, and family members, whose conflicting interests at times create knotty moral dilemmas.

Keywords: postmodern writers; bioethics; microbes; human culture; contemporary medicine; moral dilemma

Chapter.  10893 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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