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Feeling MedicineHow the Pelvic Exam Shapes Medical Training$
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Kelly Underman

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479897780

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479897780.001.0001

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Not Just Bones, Organs, and Science

Not Just Bones, Organs, and Science

The New Clinical Subjects of Patient Empowerment

(p.168) 6 Not Just Bones, Organs, and Science
Feeling Medicine

Kelly Underman

NYU Press

This chapter examines how patient empowerment seeks to train medical students to cultivate behaviors, attitudes, and values through disciplinary work done on physicians’ and patients’ affects. Because of the pelvic exam’s fraught history of rendering patients as passive objects prior to the intervention of the Women’s Health Movement, this exam serves as an interesting example to tease out threads of patient empowerment and professional authority. Patient empowerment is conceptualized as a technology comprised of discourses, knowledges, and practices that constitute patients as “partners”: fully informed subjects who are responsible for and obligated to participate in the maintenance of their own health.

Keywords:   Medical education, Patient empowerment, Patient-centered medicine, Subjectivities, Women’s Health Movement, Patient health movement, Affect, Pelvic exam

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