The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice

The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice Review

The Body Multiple is an extraordinary ethnography of an ordinary disease. Drawing on fieldwork in a Dutch university hospital, Annemarie Mol looks at the day-to-day diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerosis. A patient information leaflet might describe atherosclerosis as the gradual obstruction of the arteries, but in hospital practice this one medical condition appears to be many other things. From one moment, place, apparatus, specialty, or treatment, to the next, a slightly different “atherosclerosis” is being discussed, measured, observed, or stripped away. This multiplicity does not imply fragmentation; instead, the disease is made to cohere through a range of tactics including transporting forms and files, making images, holding case conferences, and conducting doctor-patient conversations.The Body Multiple juxtaposes two distinct texts. Alongside Mol’s analysis of her ethnographic material—interviews with doctors and patients and observations of medical examinations, consultations, and operations—runs a parallel text in which she reflects on the relevant literature. Mol draws on medical anthropology, sociology, feminist theory, philosophy, and science and technology studies to reframe such issues as the disease-illness distinction, subject-object relations, boundaries, difference, situatedness, and ontology. In dialogue with one another, Mol’s two texts meditate on the multiplicity of reality-in-practice.

Presenting philosophical reflections on the body and medical practice through vivid storytelling, The Body Multiple will be important to those in medical anthropology, philosophy, and the social study of science, technology, and medicine.

Title:The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Kyle

    Perhaps a foreign concept to many (as it certainly was to me), Mol's aim is for an ethnography of disease, specifically as it is enacted through various modes of interactions among various agents, wit...

  • Tomás Narvaja

    A great book where Annemarie Mol questions not the epistemological approaches to atherosclerosis, but rather looks at the multiple ontologies of atherosclerosis made in different sites across a hospit...

  • Dagezi

    I don't know what to think of this one yet. It's not an ethnography, it's a mixture of really smart playing with genres and a bit of smoke and mirrors. Two parallel texts the upper supposedly ethnogra...

  • Nuno Carrilho

    One of the best books I ever read that joins ethnography and literature review without losing the focus: arteriosclerosis as an object, multiple and multi paradigmatic and even thou, it still make it ...

  • Amber

    The book, its focus and aim, and unique construction are interesting, but to what end? Particularly given her reticence with regard to collaboration and the absence of an applied component to Mol's an...

  • Perri

    Thought provoking and written in a lovely clear style that made it a pleasure to read. The untraditional format--a literal subtext below the main text containing the ethnography--was surprisingly easy...

  • Bookshark

    What a strange, fascinating book. Mol illuminates the way that the body and other subjects/objects are enacted in multiple forms through a "praxiological" inquiry which foregrounds ontological (rather...

  • mcburton

    While I haven't actually finished reading the entire book, what I have read is very interesting. The book is written cleverly with an Ethnographic account along the top of each page, and the relation ...

  • Elizabeth C

    Not quite ethnography and not quite theory. Mol doesn't guide the reader in her method and this can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. A bit overrated but still interesting....