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Books, Journals, New Media
May 13, 1998

The BodyPresence in the Flesh: The Body in Medicine

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1998;279(18):1494-1495. doi:10.1001/jama.279.18.1494-JBK0513-3-1

In recent years, there has been a major shift in the overall character and focus of such social sciences as sociology and anthropology. Some see the shift as a broadening, a liberation from older, stultifying models. Others see it as a serious decline and an abandonment of science itself.

Presence in the Flesh is very much part of this shift. Written by an anthropologist and ethnographer, it reflects not so much the "softness" of social science as a newer, subjective style completely devoid of scientific orientation or method. Certainly, the topic—"the body in medicine"—is vast and intriguing. It could be approached, scientifically, any number of ways. There are cultural, societal, and historical differences in attitudes toward or apprehension of "the body." These have implications for health and illness. And, of course, within medicine itself there have been crucial shifts, over time, in views of "the body" with contending views today.

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