24 Pages

The Reproduction of Medical Knowledge

ByPaul Atkinson

As Foucault points out, modern medicine fixes its own emergence within a period at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. 1 It was at this time that the modern ‘clinic’ was born – a distinctive combination of hospital teaching, a new mode of medical discourse, new methods of inquiry and so on. The ‘clinic’ has profound mythological significance for the profession of medicine. It provides the rationale for its empiricism, and a profound faith in the primacy of first-hand experience and perception at the patient’s bedside: