Cover

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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 3-6

Contents

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pp. vii-8

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I thank the physicians, technologists, and scientists who discussed their professional training, work practices, and perspectives on medicine with me. Without their participation this book would not exist. I also thank the data specialists who helped me along the way....

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1. MRI as Cultural Icon

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pp. 1-23

In this dialogue, MRI, a technology used to create anatomical pictures, is deemed a crucial component of medical practice. It is what the doctor “starts with” and is presented as the main technology used in diagnostic work. Other intriguing aspects of this dialogue are the assumptions that...

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2. Painting by Numbers: The Development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the Visual Turn in Medicine

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pp. 24-46

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) occupies an important symbolic space in contemporary science and popular culture. In 2003, Drs. Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for developing MRI...

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3. Seeing Is Believing: The Transformation of MRI Examinations into Authoritative Knowledge

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pp. 47-76

"Bodies: The Exhibition,” a traveling museum exhibit, displays room after room of body parts in display cases and preserved full bodies in poses set throughout the exhibition halls. When one enters the exhibit, written on the wall are the words, “The study of human...

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4. The Image Factory: Work Practices in MRI Units

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pp. 77-108

Commodities. Factories. Assembly lines. We do not usually associate these words with the production of MRI exams. Examinations are instead typically described as pictures, tests, or information, and radiologists and technologists are understood as health care professionals....

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5. The Political Economy of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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pp. 109-148

Magnetic resonance imaging, like all medical procedures, is a commodity that operates within political and economic systems of exchange. It represents multiple industries that generate income for the owners and producers of machines, parts, and accessories....

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6. A Sacred Technology?: Theorizing Visual Knowledge in the Twenty-first Century

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pp. 149-165

Magnetic resonance imaging is a cultural icon. It evokes a sense of wonder among patients and medical professionals. Both the technology itself and the scans it produces serve as totems, or sacred objects (Durkheim 1995 [1913]). By offering the promise of definitive...

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Appendix. Research Methodology

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pp. 167-172

My analysis of MRI draws on in-depth research that includes interviews with four scientists recognized as developers of the technology, content analysis of popular culture narratives, fieldwork at three imaging sites and five MRI-related conferences, interviews...

References

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pp. 173-192

Index

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pp. 193-198