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Looking For A Sponge: How A Body Learns To Be Affected By Ultrasound

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Chapter Summary

Ultrasound is a medical imaging technology that enables not only medical professionals to watch the interior of a living human body in real-time, but patients as well. Bruno Latour has introduced the concept of 'circulating reference' as alternative for a representationalist epistemology (Latour 1999, 24-79). The ultrasound machine was configured for an examination of the kidneys and abdomen by a radiology assistant right before the examination. Real-time imaging presents the interior body as an image, as something that is the object of sensory perception informed by cultural notions. Bruno Latour has used the concept of mediation to describe the material-discursive enactment of agency. Real-time imaging technologies trigger a series of translations of bodies and images into image-bodies, which function as objects of patients' embodied experience. The notion of embodiment as 'learning to be affected' denies any distinction between an 'inside' self and an 'outside' body.

Keywords: Bruno Latour; living human body; real-time imaging; ultrasound



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