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technomedical visions: magnetic resonance imaging in 1980s sweden

The medical technology called Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) stemmed from a blind measurement technology which was further developed in research and practice to enable seeing into the inner body. Vision with MRI was open-ended; and it was to be developed and tamed in a context of fragmented medical perspectives on the body and on technology. Still, it seems that MRI was shaped in the continuity of anatomy’s vision.

computed MRI scan of the brain (1988)

This project investigates the introduction of MRI in Sweden in the 1980s. Its main purpose is to explore how vision with MRI has been constructed in practice in relation to medicine’s existing ways of knowing the body.

"technomedical visions" is the final shape of a project initiated under the working title "Diagnosing Technology: Medical Imaging in Sweden". The project has been conducted by Ph.D. candidate Isabelle Dussauge under the supervision of prof. Arne Kaijser, Ph.D. Pär Blomkvist and Ph.D. Eva Åhrén. This research project has resulted in Dussauge's Ph.D. dissertation "Technomedical Visions: Magnetic Resonance Imaging in 1980s Sweden" (defended April 4, 2008).

"technomedical visions" explores the following issues:

What were the initial conditions for the establishment of different kinds of MRI-research in the early 1980s’ Sweden? How was vision with MRI shaped in relation to medicine’s existing practices and ways of seeing? How did divergent understandings of MRI reproduce or challenge anatomy’s dominance in practice?

This project has resulted so far in over ten presentations/papers in national and international conferences; one publication in a Swedish journal: I.Dussauge, "Questioning Medical Technology: The Discourse on Technology in Läkartidningen 1978-1985", Polhem 2004, p.65-89 (2005); and the dissertation "Technomedical Visions: Magnetic Resonance Imaging in 1980s Sweden" (KTH, 2008).

The project has been financially supported by Vinnova, CESIS and STINT.

Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: May 07, 2008