Cultural Sutures

Medicine and Media

Cultural Sutures

Book Pages: 472 Illustrations: 82 illustrations Published: May 2004

Media Studies > TV, Medicine and Health > Medical Humanities

Medicine and the media exist in a unique symbiosis. Increasingly, health-care consumers turn to media sources—from news reports to Web sites to tv shows—for information about diseases, treatments, pharmacology, and important health issues. And just as the media scour the medical terrain for news stories and plot lines, those in the health-care industry use the media to publicize legitimate stories and advance particular agendas. The essays in Cultural Sutures delineate this deeply collaborative process by scrutinizing a broad range of interconnections between medicine and the media in print journalism, advertisements, fiction films, television shows, documentaries, and computer technology.

In this volume, scholars of cinema studies, philosophy, English, sociology, health-care education, women’s studies, bioethics, and other fields demonstrate how the world of medicine engages and permeates the media that surround us. Whether examining the press coverage of the Jack Kevorkian–euthanasia controversy; pondering questions about accessibility, accountability, and professionalism raised by such films as Awakenings, The Doctor, and Lorenzo’s Oil; analyzing the depiction of doctors, patients, and medicine on E.R. and Chicago Hope; or considering the ways in which digital technologies have redefined the medical body, these essays are consistently illuminating and provocative.

Contributors. Arthur Caplan, Tod Chambers, Stephanie Clark-Brown, Marc R. Cohen, Kelly A. Cole, Lucy Fischer, Lester D. Friedman, Joy V. Fuqua, Sander L. Gilman, Norbert Goldfield, Joel Howell, Therese Jones, Timothy Lenoir, Gregory Makoul, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Faith McLellan, Jonathan M. Metzl, Christie Milliken, Martin F. Norden, Kirsten Ostherr, Limor Peer, Audrey Shafer, Joseph Turow, Greg VandeKieft, Otto F. Wahl


Cultural Sutures presents provocative ideas and issues, making it a valuable addition to the field of the medical humanities.” — Roberta Jill Craven , Quarterly Review of Film and Video

“In a cultural and historical moment in which there is increasing profit—both literal and symbolic—in the intersections between medicine and media, this volume creates a productive conversation between scholars in a wide range of fields concerned with popular communication, technology, and health care.” — Meredith Raimondo , Medical Humanities Review

“This edited collection cogently explicates how the media and modern medicine deeply inform each other, a dynamic that rightly deserves more scholarly attention. As Lester D. Friedman asserts in his introduction to Cultural Sutures, it is important for scholars in the medical humanities to examine how media both shapes and reflects cultural ideas of medicine. Taken together, these essays illuminate a range of historical, ethical, and methodological questions. The book will be an important resource for both academics and students.” — Leigh H. Edwards, Journal of Medical Humanities

"Cultural Sutures should be read in one of two ways: either as an exculpatory introduction to a significant and fascinating cultural singularity, or as an opening into an exciting new field of cultural analysis. At its very best, I would say that it is both." — Jason Morgan, Topia

"[E]ngaging. . . . [A] thought-provoking text. The balance of the material is insightful and entertaining, and there are lots of images to augment the analysis." — Martin A. French , Canadian Journal of Communication

"[The] organization of sections makes this collection easily accessible to readers interested in approaching the examination of medicine and media from a text-based perspective. . . . [E]xcellent. . . . [E]ngaging." — Cynthia Ryan , JAMA

"Editor Friedman provides an insightful introduction, and the well-chosen authors represent diverse disciplines. . . . This book, which is probably the most comprehensive analysis ever published of how media impacts medicine and culture, fills a niche. Highly recommended." — R.A. Logan , Choice

"One of the key strengths of Cultural Sutures is its uniformly analytical approach. This lends an authority to its claims. . . . [I]nnovative. . . . [F]ascinating. . . . This book would be useful to undergraduate media, photography and film students looking at representational practices. " — Scope

“This is a book so timely and valuable—even necessary—that the wonder is that it hasn’t already appeared.” — David B. Morris, author of Illness and Culture in the Postmodern Age and The Culture of Pain


Availability: In stock
Price: $31.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Lester D. Friedman, Senior Lecturer, teaches film, medical humanities, and literature at Northwestern University. His books include The Jewish Image in American Film; Steven Spielberg: Interviews (coedited with Brent Notbohm); and the British Film Institute book Bonnie and Clyde.

Table of Contents Back to Top

Introduction: Through the Looking Glass: Medical Culture and the Media / Lester D. Friedman 1

1. Print Media

The Pharmaceutical Gaze: Psychiatry, Scropophilia, and Psychotropic Medication Advertising, 1964-1985 / Jonathan M. Metzl 15

Taken to Extremes: Newspapers and Kevorkian’s Televised Euthanasia Incident / Arthur L. Caplan and Joseph Turow 36

Stop the Presses: Journalistic Treatment of Mental Illness / Otto F. Wahl 55

2. Advertisements

The Nurse-Saver and the TV Hostess: Advertising Hospital Television, 1950-1970 / Joy V. Fuqua 73

Exorcising “Men in White” on Television: An Exercise in Cultural Power / Kelly A. Cole 93

Drive-By Medicine: Managed Care Ads on Billboards / Norbert Goldfield 109

3. Fiction Films

Frankenflicks: Medical Monsters in Classic Horror Films / Stephanie Brown Clark 129

Big Boys Do Cry: Empathy in The Doctor / Lucy Fischer 149

Institutional Impediments: Medical Bureaucracies in the Movies / Marilyn Chandler McEntyre 166

4. Television

Images and Healers: A Visual History of Scientific Medicine / Marc R. Cohen and Audrey Shafer 197

From City Hospital to ER: The Evolution of the Television Physician / Gregg Vandekieft 215

The Fat Detective: Obesity and Disability / Sander L. Gilman 234

Dissecting the Doctor Shows: A Content Analysis of ER and Chicago Hope / Gregory Makoul and Limor Peer 244

5. Documentaries

Reproductive Freedom, Revisionist History, Restricted Cinema: The Strange Case of Margaret Sanger and Birth Control / Martin F. Norden 263

Continence of the Continent: The Ideology of Disease and Hygiene in World War II Training Films / Christie Milliken 280

“Invisible Invaders”: The Global Body in Public Health Films / Kirsten Ostherr 299

The Medium in the Message: Documenting the Story of Dax Cowart / Therese Jones 315

6. Computers

Technologies Transforming Health Care: X Rays, Computers, and the Internet / Joel D. Howell 333

The Shape of Things to Come: Surgery in the Age of Medialization / Timothy Lenior 351 The Internet and the Patient-Physician Relationship / Faith McClellan 373

Virtual Disability: On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re Not a Sick Puppy / Todd Chambers 386

Works Cited 399

Contributors 423

Index 429
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3294-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3256-5
Publicity material