Troubled Bodies

Critical Perspectives on Postmodernism, Medical Ethics, and the Body

Troubled Bodies

Book Pages: 256 Illustrations: Published: November 1995

Medicine and Health > Medical Humanities, Science and Technology Studies > Philosophy of Science, Theory and Philosophy > Feminist Theory

Setting out the implications of the postmodern condition for medical ethics, Troubled Bodies challenges the contemporary paradigms of medical ethics and reconceptualizes the nature of the field. Drawing on recent developments in philosophy, philosophy of science, and feminist theory, this volume seeks to expand familiar ethical reflections on medicine to incorporate new ways of thinking about the body and the dilemmas raised by recent developments in medical techniques.
These essays examine the ways in which the consideration of ethical questions is shaped by the structures of knowledge and communication at work in clinical practice, by current assumptions regarding the concept of the body, and by the social and political implications of both. Representing various perspectives including medicine, nursing, philosophy, and sociology, these essays look anew at issues of abortion, reproductive technologies, the doctor-patient relationship, the social construction of illness, the cultural assumptions and consequences of medicine, and the theoretical presuppositions underlying modern psychiatry. Diverging from the tenets of mainstream bioethics, Troubled Bodies suggests that, rather than searching for the correct "coherent perspective" from which to draw ethical principles, we must apprehend the complexity and diversity of the discursive systems within which we dwell.


“This book is worth reading for . . . its effort to clarify how postmodernism is primarily about how we regard the body.” — Gary S. Belkin, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law

"Troubled Bodies draws on philosophical developments that question the reigning paradigms in ethics and, accordingly, will open new avenues as it reimagines the very nature of medical ethics." — Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University

"The approach taken by these essays to the problem of the body by way of matters and debates in medical ethics is certainly instructive and productive. Troubled Bodies presents an excellent introduction to the philosophical and cultural settings of a postmodern medical ethics." — Mark Seltzer, Cornell University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Paul A. Komesaroff is Executive Director, Eleanor Shaw Centre for the Study of Medicine, Society, and Law, Baker Medical Research Institute, Australia

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction: postmodern medical ethics? / Paul A. Komesaroff 1

Divide and multiply: culture and politics in the new medical order / Doug White 20

Abortion and embodiment / Catriona Mackenzie 38

From bioethics to microethics: ethical debate and clinical medicine / Paul A. Komesaroff 62

Science, medicine, and illness: rediscovering the patient as a person / Paul Redding 87

The body politic / Peter Murphy 103

Whose body? Feminist views on reproductive technologies / max Charlesworth 125

Making babies, making sense: reproductive technologies, postmodernity, and the ambiguities of feminism / Alison Caddick 142

Bodies and subjects: medical ethics and feminism / Philipa Rothfield 168

The body biomedical ethics forgets / Rosalyn Diprose 202

Female bodies and food: a case of ethics and psychiatry / Denise Russell 222

Glossary 235

index 237

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1688-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1676-3
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