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Books, Journals, New Media
June 2, 1999

Illness and CultureIllness and Culture in the Postmodern Age

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by David B. Morris, 345 pp, with illus, $27.50, ISBN 0-520-20869-2, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1998.

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JAMA. 1999;281(21):2050. doi:10.1001/jama.281.21.2050

David Morris, author of The Culture of Pain, contends that the biomedical emphasis on objective standards for disease fails to describe postmodern illness, which is all-encompassing in its influence on patients physically and emotionally and is affected by both biological and cultural influences. Postmodern illness can be understood as a single entity that encompasses characteristics of a number of specific diseases. Postmodernism refers to a "self-consciously pluralistic and multicultural" perspective of the last half century that draws upon elements, such as personal narratives and computer and television images, which have their parallels in new kinds of medical imaging, such as magnetic resonance.

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