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Publication Detail
Doing the Work of Medicine? Medical Television Programmes and Patient Behaviour
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Gouyon J-B, Boon T
  • Publisher:
    Schwabe Ag
  • Publication date:
    06/11/2019
  • Journal:
    Gesnerus
  • Status:
    Published
  • Print ISSN:
    0016-9161
  • Keywords:
    Inscribed patient, doctor-patient relationship, biomedical television programmes, wildlife television, documentary television, BBC Horizon
Abstract
This article explores the contribution of television programmes to shaping the doctor-patient relationship in Britain in the Sixties and beyond. Our core proposition is that TV programmes on medicine ascribe a specific position as patients to viewers. This is what we call the ‘Inscribed Patient’. In this article we discuss a number of BBC programmes centred on medicine, from the 1958 ‘On Call to a Nation’; to the 1985 ‘A Prize Discovery’, to examine how television accompanied the evolution of desired patient behaviour during the transition to what was dubbed “Modern Medicine” in early 1970s Britain. To support our argument about the “Inscribed Patient”, we draw a comparison with natural history programmes from the early 1960s, which similarly prescribed specific agencies to viewers as potential participants in wildlife filmmaking. We conclude that a ‘patient position’ is inscribed in biomedical television programmes, which advance propositions to laypeople about how to submit themselves to medical expertise.
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