Anticipation and Medicine : A Critical Analysis of the Science, Praxis and Perversion of Evidence Based Healthcare book cover
1st Edition

Anticipation and Medicine
A Critical Analysis of the Science, Praxis and Perversion of Evidence Based Healthcare

ISBN 9781138552180
Published August 22, 2018 by Routledge
152 Pages

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Book Description

Anticipation in Medicine: A Critical Analysis of the Science, Praxis and Perversion of Evidence Based Healthcare looks at an aspect of healthcare rarely addressed: how the capitalist interest in diagnosis and treatment impacts upon the patient and, by extension, the system of healthcare itself. Using Lacanian structures of discourse, Dr. Owen Dempsey critiques the praxis of scientific Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) applied to anticipatory and preventive healthcare under capitalism and ultimately, what constitutes good care.

This book features up-to-date case studies that combine real-life patients and the psychological impacts of anticipatory care such as cancer screening in the modern era. The book identifies the dangers of anticipatory care in medicine and provides compelling and new possibilities for progressing towards a more emancipatory conception of a less knowing, less apparently compassionate, as well as less harmful practice of health care.

This is fascinating reading for academics, students and practitioners interested in critical health psychology, the practice of ‘scientific’ medicine, and the politics of health and social care.

Table of Contents


1. The care paradox

2. Science and politics

3. Science and politics - a case history: breast cancer screening

4. Language, harm and overdiagnosis- a case history: the real cancer paradox

5. Politics and consciousness

6. Subjectivity, care-labour and Lacan's structures of discourse

7. Subjectivities of care- a case history: alienating identities

8. The opportunity costs of neoliberal pragmatist anticipatory care- a case history: A molecular genetic 'signature' for cancer risk

9. Two impossibilities: burnout and depersonalisation of care-giving

10. Neoliberal pragmatism incites perversion: the capitalist discourse

11. The Oedipus complex and perverse care-provision: a case history

12. The biopolitics of anticipatory care: Spinoza and the prohibition of health



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Owen Dempsey is a medical doctor specialising in the care of marginalised communities including asylum seekers, refugees, and the homeless. Most recently he has focussed on substance and alcohol addiction in his work. He is also undertaking research into the practice and effects of EBM. He uses a discursive psycho-social approach to critique the effects of anticipatory diagnostic technologies through the relationship between Evidence Based Healthcare and capitalism.


"Dempsey’s approach to the perils of evidence-based medicine is novel, and makes for an interesting read. The majority of the points he makes are valid, and are the same ones many others make, though they may start from a different place philosophically." - Mark K. Huntington, Family Medicine