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Goldsmiths - University of London

The classification and nomenclature of 'medically unexplained symptoms': conflict, performativity and critique

Greco, Monica. 2012. The classification and nomenclature of 'medically unexplained symptoms': conflict, performativity and critique. Social Science and Medicine, 75(12), pp. 2362-2369. ISSN 0277-9536 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Medically unexplained symptoms – including the many syndromes that fall under this umbrella – involve a discrepancy between professional knowledge and lay experience and are often associated with latent or explicit dynamics of conflict. Although this conflictual dimension has been amply documented, little critical attention has been paid to how nomenclature and classification inform the conflictual dynamic and are informed by it in turn. In this paper I engage with this question by focusing on debates around the medical terminology in use, and on the alternative terminology developed by social scientists. I argue that, in different ways, medical and social scientific discourse collude in a performative disavowal of the psychological dimension of ‘MUS’. I then discuss the paradoxical character of this disavowal and suggest that it tends to perpetuate polemical modes of engagement around ‘MUS’. I conclude with suggestions on how critical research might counteract this tendency.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.010

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Dates:

DateEvent
December 2012Published

Item ID:

6967

Date Deposited:

14 May 2012 10:19

Last Modified:

17 Oct 2013 11:02

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/6967

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