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The construction of patienthood in medical advertising


, : The construction of patienthood in medical advertising. International Journal of Health Services 23(4): 805-819

The purpose of this study was to investigate the dominant symbolic elements, themes, and discourses used in drug advertisements published in a weekly magazine directed toward physicians. The discussion is concerned with both the visual signs and textual format of the advertisements, analyzing their attempts to create images around the drugs that appeal to the medical readership of the magazine. With the premise that the producers of the advertisements drew upon shared knowledge and belief systems of their medical audience to create a meaningful image for the drugs, the focus of the article is upon the portrayal of patients in the advertisements, with particular interest in gendered representations. The author argues that the way in which patients are portrayed visually and verbally in such advertisements is revealing of the ideological dimension of the doctor-patient relationship within the biomedical system of healing, including notions of the mechanical man and the vulnerable woman as archetypal patients.

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PMID: 7506237


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