Gaze and Medical Diagnosis: A Historical Account of Concepts in Biomedicine

Document Type : Original Article


Ph.D. Candidate, Department of sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India


A diagnosis is a transformative act that functions as an interface between illness and disease and takes place at a juncture between patient and doctor. The reason to focus on diagnosis, both as a category and a process, is to emphasize its defining and differentiating role in medicine. That is, diagnosis provides the framework within which medicine operates and exerts its role. The paper attempts to highlight the role of gaze and concepts in the larger frame of change concerning medicine through the construct of diagnosis. The purpose is to destabilize the interactive configuration of social, economic, political, and technological impulses that has been the dominant mode of theorizing various shifts in medicine. In accord with the concept of the paradigm shift that explicates fundamental change in practice and experience of sciences, the process of diagnosis offers the vantage point to understand changes in medicine. The argument is substantiated by providing a historical account of clinical medicine to trace changing notions of health, disease, and the body owing to changes in diagnosis and gaze in particular.


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