Picturing Personhood by Joseph Dumit
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Picturing Personhood
By Joseph Dumit

Picturing Personhood

Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity

By (author) See other recent books by Joseph Dumit
Edited by Paul Rabinow See other recent books by Paul Rabinow
Format: Paperback

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Picturing Personhood by Joseph Dumit

Book Awards

  • Winner of American Anthropological Association/Society for Psychological Anthropology Stirling Prize 2005.

Book Description

By showing us the human brain at work, PET (positron emission tomography) scans are subtly--and sometimes not so subtly--transforming how we think about our minds. Picturing Personhood follows this remarkable and expensive technology from the laboratory into the world and back. It examines how PET scans are created and how they are being called on to answer myriad questions with far-reaching implications: Is depression an observable brain disease? Are criminals insane? Do men and women think differently? Is rationality a function of the brain? Based on interviews, media analysis, and participant observation at research labs and conferences, Joseph Dumit analyzes how assumptions designed into and read out of the experimental process reinforce specific notions about human nature. Such assumptions can enter the process at any turn, from selecting subjects and mathematical models to deciding which images to publish and how to color them. Once they leave the laboratory, PET scans shape social debates, influence courtroom outcomes, and have positive and negative consequences for people suffering mental illness. Dumit follows this complex story, demonstrating how brain scans, as scientific objects, contribute to our increasing social dependence on scientific authority. The first book to examine the cultural ramifications of brain-imaging technology, Picturing Personhood is an unprecedented study that will influence both cultural studies and the growing field of science and technology studies.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691113982
ISBN-10: 069111398X
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 19mm)
Pages: 272
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 15-Dec-2003
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Joseph Dumit

Tactical Biopolitics by Joseph Dumit Tactical Biopolitics, Paperback (September 2010)

Scientists, scholars, and artists consider the political significance of recent advances in the biological sciences.

Biomedicine as Culture by Joseph Dumit Biomedicine as Culture, Paperback (June 2010)

Offers interdisciplinary perspectives on contemporary biomedicine as a cultural practice. This book brings together leading scholars from cultural anthropology, sociology, history, and science studies to conduct a critical dialogue on the culture(s) of biomedical practice, discussing its epistemic, material, and social implications.

Cyborg Babies by Joseph Dumit Cyborg Babies, Paperback (September 1998)

Explores the increasingly pervasive role of technology in childrens lives, from conception to birth to childcare. The text argues that in aspects of childhood from foetuses scanned electronically to wired toddlers, children are being rendered cyborg by their immersion in technoculture.

» View all books by Joseph Dumit


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Author Biography - Joseph Dumit

Joseph Dumit is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Science & Technology Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a coeditor of "Cyborgs & Citadels" and "Cyborg Babies" and Associate Editor of the journal "Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry".

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Recent books by Joseph Dumit close
Tactical Biopolitics by Joseph Dumit
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