All In Your Head: Making Sense of Pediatric Pain
by Mara Buchbinder
University of California Press, 2015, 256 pages
Pain has a famously intangible quality. To paraphrase Elaine Scarry, for the person in pain, “having pain” can be wholly consuming and experienced as concrete reality. But for all its “there-ness,” pain is difficult to pin down, measure and describe. …
On Immunity: An Inoculation
By Eula Biss
Graywolf Press, 2014, 205 pp.
The End of Normal: Identity in a Biocultural Era
By Lennard J. Davis
University of Michigan Press, 2013, 155 pp.
Autism and Gender: From Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks
By Jordynn Jack
University of Illinois Press, 2014, 306 pp.
Disability themes have become an increasingly central figure …
In June, we debuted an extensive new series on Somatosphere, The Ethnographic Case. Edited by Emily Yates-Doerr and Christine Labuski, the series is organized on an expanding, virtual bookCASE, with each individual piece expanding our understanding of case studies — what they are, what they can teach us, and what work they do shaping both our objects of …
Putting a Name to It: Diagnosis in Contemporary Society
by Annemarie Jutel
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. 175 pages.
When we treat diagnosis as simply a medical issue, we mask the tremendous social power involved in putting a name to human suffering. When we transform phenomenological experiences into discrete labels and then treat those labels as reality, we cram …
Having been left in the long grass for several years while donors, activists, governments and public health experts focused on the question of access to vital medicines, the issue of diagnosis is today at the very top of the global health agenda. The rise of diagnosis as a global health issue has tracked its reformulation into a question of access …
While training in psychiatry, I frequently heard mental-health practitioners refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as our profession’s “diagnostic bible.” The DSM, of course, is the text produced by a cabal of psychiatric experts that defines the parameters of mental illness and, by extension, mental health. It textually conveys the now commonplace assumption that psychiatry works through systems …