The “culture of biomedicine” is the overall meaning that we give biomedicine in our society. This includes the institutional history of biomedicine, the language of biomedical facts, and the rituals of biomedicine. Events that are important to the history of biomedicine are germ theory, genetics, and the introduction of antibiotics. The language of biomedical facts are using words like “sick”, “dirty”, “contaminated”, “sterile”, etc as well as the categorization of illnesses described as medicalization in both the Conrad and Potter paper and Taz’s blog post. The rituals of biomedicine include sending sick people to hospitals and the rituals of surgery illustrated by Katz in this week’s materials. The culture of biomedicine is an important concept to understand because without it we would just accept all things related to biomedicine at their face values and we might not be open to alternative methods of treatment. It is also possible that we would make mistakes on a global scale that would negatively impact the health of the human race.
I believe dichotomies have been a part of human culture since the beginning of our time. We instinctively compare hot things to cold things, bright things to dark things, the sun to the moon, etc… I believe this is part of our natural curiosity as humans. Right now no one is giving us answers to all the questions that we have nor are there more intelligent organisms on earth for us to ask. As such, it is up to us to answer our own questions and dichotomies offer an easy way to compare things that all people can understand, even when we are very young.
I chose the doctor/patient dichotomy because I think it is very interesting and related to what I have written above. I think it is funny that we should trust our health to a total stranger. At the same time it makes perfect logistical sense to train only a certain part of society in biomedicine and put those people in charge of the overall health of society. I believe this is part of the reason why the doctor/patient dichotomy in particular is logical/natural in our society. I believe its complete acceptance in the United States and other places in the world has to do with our acceptance of dichotomies in general. We want answers to our questions and if we are told by the media and history that doctors have the answers we seek then we are automatically programmed to listen. I think our western society has come to accept this system because we are not just looking for answers, but very simple answers. We want pills that can make a symptom go away. We want to be able to do a quick internet search to answer our question. We want people who are trained in human health to manage our health and “fix us” when our bodies “break.”