Reading Response 1 Sakari Law

One thing I believe Kleinman wants the reader to reflect on is that, in our capitalist society, technology has been the focal point of medical treatment and progress. His argument considers a diverse range of cultural perspectives, feelings, and beliefs, and terms it as the “soft” concerns of medicine (9). Half of his reading provides the reader with examples of different culture systems across the world, which shows how much this understanding fills in “the space” between the practitioner and the patient. He provides multiple perspectives to give us multiple things to consider. It is a lesson that is needed in order to understand how a patient might view themselves as being a sick person and for doctors to provide the best treatment. In addition, several of his passages are titled “the meaning” of, whether that be of illness, sickness or disease. His intentions are to communicate with the reader that these are often times misunderstood and usually are not directly expressed.

Technology as being innovative medicine, however, is limiting and does not leave room for any of these meanings. It takes away that narrating experience, leaving the patient with “closed-ended practical issues,” because technology is used to simply control symptoms (20). This is the “radically materialist pursuit of the biological mechanism of disease.” He describes this quest as being “hard” and overvalued in medicine (9). As a result, medical workers become stiffened and unable to operate under pressures of moral perspective. It is as if we have completely forgotten that we are operating on humans, not robots.

And this is the product of a capitalist society, the current social circumstances of Kleinman’s reading and the “hot spot” that we are in.

Works Cited

Kleinman, Arthur. The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition. New York: Basic Books, 1988. Print.