Jenell Johnson's American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History PDF

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By Jenell Johnson

ISBN-10: 0472119443

ISBN-13: 9780472119448

American Lobotomy stories a wide selection of representations of lobotomy to provide a rhetorical background of 1 of the main notorious methods within the historical past of drugs. the advance of lobotomy in 1935 used to be heralded as a “miracle remedy” that might empty the nation’s perennially blighted asylums. in spite of the fact that, basically two decades later, lobotomists at the beginning praised for his or her “therapeutic braveness” have been condemned for his or her barbarity, a picture that has basically soured in next many years. Johnson employs formerly deserted texts like technological know-how fiction, horror movie, political polemics, and conspiracy conception to teach how lobotomy’s entanglement with social and political narratives contributed to a strong photo of the operation that persists to at the present time. The e-book provocatively demanding situations the background of drugs, arguing that rhetorical heritage is important to knowing clinical background. It bargains a case learn of ways drugs accumulates that means because it circulates in public tradition and argues for the necessity to comprehend biomedicine as a culturally located perform.

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Extra resources for American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History

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Moreover, since everyone exhibits some anxiety in their daily affairs, lobotomy was dealing in matters of degree rather than kind and matters of value rather than fact. Grinker challenged that it was “extremely dangerous” to assume that medicine had the power to determine “exactly what dose of anxiety is normal and what is pathological” to the point where the destruction of brain tissue could be warranted (187). 18 Although Grinker granted that anxiety could breach “a certain pathological threshold,” he also maintained that even strong Thinking with the Thalamus 35 anxiety could prove beneficial by motivating individuals to persevere in the face of difficulty (186).

As arguments began to shift from the praise of lobotomy to its condemnation in the late 1940s and early 1950s, two related shifts also took place: the subjects of case histories used to support arguments about lobotomy overwhelmingly switched gender from women to men, and the interpretation of the operation’s effects shifted from positive to negative. But why did the stories about lobotomy shift tone in the early 1950s? After its introduction to America in 1936, the number of lobotomies steadily rose throughout the 1930s and 1940s and peaked right after Egas Moniz was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1949 (Sterling 1978).

Elizabeth’s (14–­2). His work with lobotomy would serve both purposes, while also allaying his frustration. Freeman often referred to mental illness as a “Gordian knot,” in reference to a myth about Alexander the Great often used as a metaphor for an unsolvable problem. In the myth, Alexander travels to Gordium in Phyrigia, where he finds an ox cart bound to a stake with a number of complicated knots. According to legend, whoever successfully freed the cart would become the next king. Instead of untying the knot, however, Alexander abruptly unsheathed his sword and cut it—­a bold action that was said to have delighted Zeus.

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American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History by Jenell Johnson


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