chapter  4
Using Medicines in the Face of Uncertainty
Developing a Habermasian Understanding of Medicines’ Lifeworlds
ByPatrick Brown
Pages 24

The cultural dimension of medicines lifeworlds can be said to be becoming more rationalised in some senses via disenchantment with the magic of medicines and a growing public awareness of uncertainty of medicines use and the fallibility of manufacturers and prescribers. The Habermasian conceptualisation of lifeworld thus tries to bridge this dualism between individual and societal analytical orientations. A critical public sphere, within a broader social context of modernity, has led to a greater questioning of medicines, their properties and the validity of various truth claims made about medicines' effectiveness and safety. The rationalisation of cultural meanings around medicines is thus one such product of life-world refinement. The processes of reworking the presence and recognition of uncertainty around medicines, as experienced by individuals within particular lifeworlds, was explored in the preceding section where an emphasis was placed upon the agency of medicine users within their lifeworld.