“You Can Learn Merely by Listening to the Way a Patient Walks through the Door”: The Transmission of Sensory Medical Knowledge

Gili Hammer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Examining the mechanisms of medical knowledge transfer, this article addresses the ways nonvisual senses are employed within medical training, asking about the role of sound, touch, and movement in transmitting knowledge of the body. Based on a 10-month ethnography in a medical massage training course for blind students, the article examines the ways sensory medical knowledge is transferred in this setting. I discuss the multisensory characteristics of medical knowledge transfer, and the dual process inherent in this sensory pedagogy, in which senses such as touch and hearing undergo medicalization and scientification, while medicine enters the realm of the sensorial. Contributing to emerging research of nonvisual senses in medical training, this case study allows rethinking larger processes of medical knowing, challenging the dominancy of vision as the means of scientific knowledge transmission, and exposing the multisensorial elements of medical perception, and learning in general.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)138-154
Number of pages17
JournalMedical Anthropology Quarterly
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the American Anthropological Association

Keywords

  • blindness
  • embodied knowledge
  • medical training
  • senses
  • tactility

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