In recent decades, Popular Culture has increasingly become the engine of social and cultural change. It also takes constitutive influence on the design of individual life concepts. Not least, popular culture is one of the most successful global culture industries. Thus, it is a representative culture with fundamental socio-political significance (see Kleiner 2012: 17). Popular Culture in its present form has emerged since the 1950 and can be understood as a social substructure which industrially produces diverse knowledge and concepts of knowledge as offers of information and entertainment. Popular Culture can be simultaneously understood as a way of communication, as a function of mass media, as a social institution, and as an aesthetic category. (see Kleiner 2012: 18-19).
As part of its functions as a promoter of knowledge, Popular Culture in its respective manifestations (movies, comics, (digital) games, pop music, popular science, etc.) often refers to subjects of other social areas or systems (see Huck/Zorn 2007), reflects and reconfigures them through their popular cultural implementation. In particular, popular culture frequently makes use of the visual and narrative knowledge reservoir of medicine.
Research and publications have occasionally addressed individual medical superimposed media artifacts of Popular Culture. Especially, the view of medical ethics in film plays a certain role (see for example Shapshay 2009). However, two things need to be mentioned:
First, there is hardly any research on medical theory, history of medicine, medical ethics and ‘medical practice’ narratives in (still) marginal media such as computer games, comics, etc. Nevertheless, these media forms play an increasingly strong role in the shaping of a collective structure of cognition. Secondly, the interdependencies and exchange processes between Popular Culture and science – particularly with regard to biosciences and life sciences – are explored unsatisfactory.
Therefore, particularly contributions to the following research questions are of interest for the conference “Medical Imaging II: Medical Narratives in Late Modern Popular Culture”.
1. Theoretical research: Which (reciprocal) transfer processes occur between medical science and Popular Culture? What are the consequences of such exchange processes at the ontological, epistemological, scientific, social, aesthetic, narrative, etc. level?
2. Empirical research: Which trends of implementation of medical knowledge into Popular Culture can be observed since the 1950s? Which fictional and aesthetic changes are subject to this influence in movies, comics, computer games and popular science media?
To what extent can retroactive effects be determined, for example in the context of the development of medical imaging techniques, formations of medical education (keyword ‘gamification ‘), research (keyword ‘visualization of medical knowledge’), the placement of medical knowledge or the relationship between doctor and patient (keyword ,social networks’)?
The conference language is English. Deadline for abstracts (450 words max.) is December 20th 2013. A publication of the contributions is intended. Hotel and travel costs cannot be covered. For any questions do not hesitate to contact us.
Institute of the History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine
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