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Title: What do we talk about when we talk about disease?
Author: Quinn Schone, H. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 9691
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This is a thesis about classification and disease, our expectations as lay-people and patients as to where the borders of illness lie, and the consequences of such expectations. In Chapter I the discussion is framed with a critical analysis of common terms and concepts employed in the social, historical and philosophical study of disease. Chapter II revolves around a critique of sections of the philosophy of medicine literature, based upon the notion that any attempt at a ‘universal’ definition of disease is likely to fail. Chapter III introduces and appraises the work of three thinkers - Edward Shorter, Elaine Showalter and Ian Hacking - in order to give more historical weight to the case study which follows. In Chapter IV, the final chapter, the main body of evidence is presented. The condition under examination is fibromyalgia and the bones of the chapter come from twenty-two semi-structured interviews with patients about their experiences. It is argued that disease definition is not a procedure conducted in the abstract but rather a fleshy, intuitive process that all of us, specialist or not, partake in. It is demonstrated that certain expectations of disease exists among the population - what it should look like, what it should act like - and that these expectations have a greater role in constructing a patient’s identity than is often assumed. It is suggested that a patient might find themselves in harmony with their institutional category, have a pleasant and working relationship with their doctor, but still exist in total discord with those around them on the basis of their condition, a state of affairs not adequately considered or explained by the current philosophy of medicine literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available