The universal goal of medicine is to intervene in the progress of disease and sickness in the human body. Though the intention of medicine is the same for all doctors, the methods by which they practice this interventionist discipline is vastly different. Good argues that studying medicine is a “process of coming to inhabit a new world” (Good 70). However, this process of deconstructing “reality” (Good 67) and integrating yourself into the “medical world” (Good 71) is a process heavily tainted by political views, cultural influences and beliefs we embody in reality. This “new world” founded on a curriculum made by medical institutions is influenced by the biases and prejudgments in society and, therefore, determines how medicine is taught, practiced and perceived. In this paper, I argue that medical knowledge is focused and filtered through the lens of the dominant sociocultural views prevalent in a particular region or a point in history but its non-objectivity is disguised by the “formative practices” (Good 67) of medicine.
The interventions that are allowed and required by medicine are so radically deviant from the rules of the nonmedical world that it requires a new realm or space that is seemingly impenetrable by reality. An example of a smaller scale manifestation of this medical realm is the anatomy lab. Interviews of Harvard medical students conducted by Good show us that “intrusion of the ordinary reality into this space are experienced as violation.” (Good 72) In the lab, students are taught to hone their “medical gaze.” (Good 73) to perceive the body “anatomically.” (Good 73) Exposed and trained to handle the body in “unnatural” ways, students ar...
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...lish safe drug use centers. This may be because her “gaze” (Good 69) is not fully confined to medical institutions.
The privileging of certain practices in medicine makes the hospitals more effective and standardized. However, at the same time, it ignores a large pool of knowledge that doesn’t fit its model for what the practice of medicine should be. To produce objective knowledge, medical students must be made aware of the social influences that affect the interpretation of data. Schools like Cornell University now require pre-med students to take social science classes. The view that the medicine is completely separate from practices like midwifery is not beneficial to either discipline. When “neither group creates a world the other recognizes as real.” (Wendland 227) the intersection of knowledge between disciplines becomes difficult.
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