Segal   2 comments

I really enjoyed this historical breakdown Segal offered in her text.  However, there are just many concepts that I don’t agree with, such as her perpetrating the term “hysterical epidemics” when in all reality that could have been entirely left out of the introductory paragraph and addressed when she begins to talk about women and their bodies.  Just bad timing to me.

 One part that really made me think about “medicine” in a more cultural sense of “eradicating” society from a disease, came around page 25 when she states that, “We might say, relying on Duden’s history, that the medical rhetoric of the early eighteenth century was epideictic, its main action being to affirm the values of the community in which it is offered – specifically, to perpetuate those values by the motions of praise and blame.”  This notion of medicine taking those “patients” out of society who are deemed to be “unfit” such as those who are disabled in the early 1900’s, those who were not of the Arian race in Germany during the late 1930’s early 1940’s, and even up until today with genocide in Darfur and The Killing Fields previously.  While of course, this is not the aim of Segal’s text, I really wish we could discuss more the cultural implications of medicine and the effects of rhetoric such as what Segal alludes to in this passage – what really determines the value of a life and secondly, if a life is greivable?

She also talks about the term, clinic – I think it is strange (maybe) that the connotations of clinic in her text are “positive.”  Clinics, to me, since I grew up in a doctor’s office pretty  much, always had a negative connotation.  They weren’t a place where people learned how to perform medicine, nor a place where patients were studied – it was a place where those who were unable to afford healthcare or were homeless or suffering from whatever life disease they may have, to come for “free” medication and “care,” but first and foremost, for birth control and other reproductive “cures.”  I think she did us a disservice here (maybe she addresses this aspect of a clinic later) by not acknowledging that while, this definition was the original purpose/definition; a majority of clinics do not fit this bright molding.

Part of my posting from last week talked about how doctors use language as part of their performance in the examining room in order to show authority/prove their credibility, and I like that she addresses this in her text: “‘Cough’ became ‘tussis’; ‘wound’ became ‘vulnus,’ and so on.  In the late 1770s, 70 percent of all diagnoses were in English and 19 percent were in Latin; by the turn of the century, 79 percent of diagnoses were in Latin, and only one percent were in English” (31).  This is so important due to the next point she makes later down the page, about direct to consumer advertising for prescription medicine pharmaceuticals on the television, radio, and websites.  A great example of this is with the new adult vaccine for Pertussis….this is the only online video I can find of this commercial – but I think the connection with Segal is interesting:).

Posted September 7, 2010 by terieleawatkins in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Segal

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  1. side note: My particularly favorite quote from Segal (which precedes the “cough” became “tussis” line) is:

    “Whereas Storch and his patients knew the same body, by the nineteenth century, scientific–‘real’–knowledge of the body was available to the physician alone, and the patient had become a little stupid.”

  2. Hahaha that quote is great:)…there are many other “ringers” in there!!!!!!! I just didn’t want to exhaust the word count with only chapter 1 – because I definitely could have:).

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