Pub. Date:
Cornell University Press
Magnetic Appeal: MRI and the Myth of Transparency / Edition 1

Magnetic Appeal: MRI and the Myth of Transparency / Edition 1

by Kelly A. Joyce, Kelly Joyce
Current price is , Original price is $25.95. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging, not so long ago a diagnostic tool of last resort, has become pervasive in the landscape of consumer medicine; images of the forbidding tubes, with their promises of revelation, surround us in commercials and on billboards. Magnetic Appeal offers an in-depth exploration of the science and culture of MRI, examining its development and emergence as an imaging technology, its popular appeal and acceptance, and its current use in health care. Understood as modern and uncontroversial by health care professionals and in public discourse, the importance of MRI-or its supposed infallibility-has rarely been questioned.

In Magnetic Appeal, Kelly A. Joyce shows how MRI technology grew out of serendipitous circumstances and was adopted for reasons having little to do with patient safety or evidence of efficacy. Drawing on interviews with physicians and MRI technologists, as well as ethnographic research conducted at imaging sites and radiology conferences, Joyce demonstrates that current beliefs about MRI draw on cultural ideas about sight and technology and are reinforced by health care policies and insurance reimbursement practices. Moreover, her unsettling analysis of physicians' and technologists' work practices lets readers consider that MRI scans do not reveal the truth about the body as is popularly believed, nor do they always lead to better outcomes for patients. Although clearly a valuable medical technique, MRI technology cannot necessarily deliver the health outcomes ascribed to it.

About the Author:
Kelly A. Joyce is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the College of William and Mary

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801474569
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 04/21/2008
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Kelly A. Joyce is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the College of William and Mary.

Table of Contents

1. MRI as Cultural Icon
2. Painting by Numbers: The Development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the Visual Turn in Medicine
3. Seeing Is Believing: The Transformation of MRI Examinations into Authoritative Knowledge
4. The Image Factory: Work Practices in MRI Units
5. The Political Economy of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
6. A Sacred Technology? Theorizing Visual Knowledge in the Twenty-first Century

Appendix: Research Methodology

What People are Saying About This

Peter Conrad

"Kelly A. Joyce's intriguing and insightful book about the emergence and use of MRI technology is a benchmark work in understanding the impact of visual technologies on medicine and society. Joyce's analysis of how images become authoritative knowledge will challenge notions of 'seeing is believing. Magnetic Appeal is a major contribution to medical sociology as well as science studies."

Meika Loe

"When a doctor orders an MRI, patients rarely think twice. After reading Magnetic Appeal you will be surprised and unsettled to find out how this seemingly infallible tool achieved its status as cultural icon and paradigmatic technology for health care in the twenty-first century."

Lisa Cartwright

"Magnetic Appeal gives depth and breadth to our understanding of the practices and political economy of MRI. The book offers a rich ethnography of MRI laboratory and clinical work. I regard it as a definitive work in the STS study of biomedical imaging technologies."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews