Diagnostic Fluidity: Working with Uncertainty and Mutability


Mette Bech Risør
Nina Nissen


Diagnostic procedures are emblematic of medical work. Scholars in the field of social studies of medicine identify diverse dimensions of diagnosis that point to controversies, processual qualities and contested evidence. In this anthology, diagnostic fluidity is seen to permeate diagnostic work in a wide range of contexts, from medical interactions in the clinic, domestic settings and other relations of affective work, to organizational structures, and in historical developments. The contributors demonstrate, each in their own way, how different agents ‘do diagnosis’, highlighting the multi-faceted elements of uncertainty and mutability integral to diagnostic work. At the same time, the contributors also show how in ‘doing diagnosis’ enactments of subjectivities, representations of cultural imaginaries, bodily processes, and socio-cultural changes contribute to configuring diagnostic fluidity in significant ways.

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Foreword, Annemarie Jutel

Configurations of diagnostic processess and practices: an introduction, Mette Bech Risør & Nina Nissen

Part 1: Tensions in everyday diagnostic work

A deviant diagnosis? Doctors faced with a patient’s diagnostic work, Sylvie Fainzang

Enacting ADHD diagnosis in the landscape of care in Poland, Anna Witeska-Młynarczyk

Diagnostic uncertainty and pathways to care for migrant and non-migrant families and their children, Sylvie Fortin, Annie Gauthier & Liliana Gomez Cardona

Part 2: Diagnostic negotiations in the clinic

From evidence to experience: the diagnosis of dementia in a US clinic, Laurence Tessier

A desire for knowing: ontological uncertainty, diagnostic evidence and generative affectivity in pre-symptomatic genetic counselling, Bernhard Hadolt

“I’m here to help with pain”: diagnosing and resolving total pain in hospital palliative care, Marian Krawczyk

The role of pathology in diagnostic work, Torsten Risør 

Part 3: The power of changing diagnostic categories

Offstage: madness, the ob-scene, and common sense, Angel Martínez-Hernáez

The medicalization of diagnosis: from cultural and environmental nosologies to lay medical concerns, Josep M. Comelles & Susan M. DiGiacomo

 Afterword, Simon Cohn


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March 23, 2018

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