Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Managing" Uncertainty, Re-creating Identity, Medicalizing & Pathologizing the Self

     "living under conditions of sustained uncertainty (can become) part of the fabric of the everyday life of (patients and their) families and (can) transform their taken-for-granted world.
     Uncertainty has always been a condition of human existence; it's pervasiveness in human societies is evident from the fact that expressions for varying degrees of certainty can be found in most languages. Attempts to reduce uncertainty through ritual acts, ceremonial rites, supplication, sacrifice, signification, and divination are practices deeply embedded in the history of the human race. The strategies that people in primitive societies used to manage uncertainty have remained surprisingly constant and modern-day correlates of these strategies are easily recognizable. Although the conditions that give rise to uncertainty have changed over time, 'to predict the historical future remains one of mankind's oldest yet unfulfillable desires.'
     Uncertainty varies in degree of magnitude, intensity, and saliency - from the overarching, existential issues of life and death to the inconsequential contingencies and probabilities that are the substance of everyday life."
     Cohen MH. The unknown and the unknowable - managing sustained uncertainty. West J Nurs Res 1993; 15(1): 77-96.

     "A key element to the new era of biomedicalisation involves the production of individual and collective identities constructed through technoscientific means. Developing an illness identity is common for those with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Individuals develop and reinforce personal and social characteristics to help them to accommodate aspects of the illness and integrate it into their lives and sense of self. Illness identities help people to manage the uncertainty of illness. In managing uncertainty, information (both lay and professional) is paramount. ... biomedicalisation and biomedical uncertainty together encourage the development of a new kind of illness identity that is based on one’s association with, and knowledge of, science and technology. A technoscientific identity (TSI) transfers biomedical information and characteristics directly to the person. Instead of acknowledging that one has a particular biomedical classification, the TSI encourages the person to become — think of oneself in terms of — the classification." 

       Sulik GA. Managing biomedical uncertainty: the technoscientific illness identity. Sociol Health Illn 2009; 31(7): 1059-76.

     See also:

Clock by Robert Pope

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