A 3: CS Preparation

Pivotal assignment for essay plan with change in direction to be more about power and visual culture. Contains five examples of draft frameworks and writing that direct my research away from iconography to power relations and resistance in visual culture.


“This is a display of governmental, media and medical power; power within power, within power.” That is the first time I use the word power clearly, but it has not found its way into the rest of the framework here.

Learning Objective

LO3 applied your own criteria of judgement, reviewed, criticised and taken responsibility for your own work with minimum guidance

A 3 CS – Preparation

1. Thinking about my essay plan

4th January 2020

I haven’t had feedback from my tutor about A 2, but am starting to think about A 3.

I’ve started to form the plan as a way of building it up – as Cresswell says writing is analysis. A particularly helpful meeting was the OCA tutor-led discussion group where we talked about conceptual frameworks. I have done a separate entry to my learning blog. My conclusion from that meeting is to use discourse analysis as an approach with several theories to form the essay. I think that my essay is about the private and public formation of doctor identity, but that may change. 

In A 2 I did not adequately assess or describe the ‘how’ of identity formation. That objective looks difficult, but I have been looking at applicable theory from the start of this year. Two weeks ago I wrote this introduction for A 3 and A 4 (I like to get ahead) which shows where I am in my thinking’

1.1 Some draft writing for A3 about intention and theoretical frameworks

SAMPLE 1: Draft introduction for A3

In this essay I investigate the relationship between medical iconography, ideology and identity in the representation of ‘doctors’ and the creation and expression of medical visual culture. 

This subject is important because medical culture is an important societal structure, and my ‘Body of Work’ explores my identity within it.

Publications are from medical, medical anthropology, sociology literature and image libraries, and popular media. I analyse or comment on images from pre-history to today.  

I also pose three questions: whether the representation of doctors ‘matters’; is doctor representation binary, as ‘heroes’ or ‘villains’; and what could doctor representations look like in the future?

My theoretical framework include critical theory from Pierce and Barthes about representational systems (Pierce, 1960) (Barthes, 1977), Althusser’s theory of ideology (Althusser, 1972), Bakhtin’s ideas about the ‘dialogical’ contstruction on ideology (Bakhtin, 1981; Puustinen, 1999), and Foucault’s ideas about the formation and power of institutions (Foucault, 1996)

I also look at medical culture and the formation of doctor identity, using ideas from Stuart Hall (Hall and DuGray, 1996), Bourdieu’s concept of ‘habitus’ (Barcelos Neto, 2003), ‘Social Identity Theory’ from Tajfel (Tajfel, 1981; Tadfel, 1882), and insights from art criticism (Jor(Jordanova, 1999) and medical sociology (Lupton, 2003).

Above all, I explore the work of artists and photographers that evidence the research in this essay. 


Althusser, L. (1972) Lenin and Philosophy, and other essays, trans, Ben Brewster. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Bakhtin, M. (1981) The Dialogic Imagination. Translated by Emerson, M.H. and C. Austin, Texas: University of Texas.

Barcelos Neto, A. (2003) ‘Art and Agency: an Anthropological Theory’ In: Cadernos de Campo (São Paulo, 1991) 11 p.147.

Barthes, R. (1977) ‘The rhetoric of the image.’ In: Image-Music-Text. New York: Hill and Wang. At: https://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/Barthes-Rhetoric-of-the-image-ex.pdf (Accessed  06/11/2020).

Hall, S. and DuGray, R. (1996) ‘Introduction: Who needs ‘identity’?’ In: Questions of cultural identity. London: Sage. pp.1–18.

Jordanova, L. (1999) Defining Features: Scientific and Medical Portraits 1660-2000. London: National Portrait Gallery and Reaktion Books.

Lupton, D. (2003) Medicine as Culture. (s.l.): Sage Publications Ltd.

Pierce, C. (1960) Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press.

Puustinen, R. (1999) ‘Bakhtin’s Philosophy and Medical Practice — Toward a Semiotic Theory of Doctor-patient Interaction’ In: Medicine, Culture, and Philosophy 2 (3)

Tajfel, H. (1882) Social identity and intergroup relations. Edited Henri Tajfel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tajfel, H. (1981) Human groups and social categories: studies in social psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.”

In this section of draft writing for A 3, I have been trying to pin down what my theoretical sources are in a condensed way.

1.2 Mapping out how A3 will look

I have also been looking at what discourse analysis is, and after reading Rose’s two chapters on discourse analysis I think that it and some semiotics is perhaps the right way to go – she calls this ‘Discourse Analysis 2’ (Rose, 2016).

SAMPLE 2: Draft plan for a Medical Discourse

See Rose’s categorization of visual cultural sites (Rose, 2016). Some possible headings for my plan.

  • Institutions 
  • The construction of professional identity
  • Fildes ‘The Doctor’
  • Currie’s Three Oncologist
  • The rise of democracy
  • ?
  • Sites of circulation
  • The museum
  • Image banks
  • ‘The Country Doctor’
  • Audiencing
  • The strange case of Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde

I have been reading ‘Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde; it seems to me that it is the public that developed the view of Hyde as an ogre and neglects the complexity of Dr Jeckyl who is not without faults. The text says NOTHING about Hyde’s appearance! It was also written pre-Freud.

I need to press on with my BOW and will have a break from CS for 10 days as I look at my own identity as a doctor working from home.

Rose, G. (2016) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. (4th ed.) London: Sage Publications Ltd.

2. Methods – discourse analysis (and stereotypes)

9th January 2021

2.1 What is discourse analysis?

I have examined several sources of information. One of my key sources for doing discourse analysis is Dijk (Dijk, 1993). It is a long, detailed and comprehensive source about writing a discourse analysis, and will become a primary source for me. I think it may frame the way in which I write the introduction.

An excellent video on how to write a discourse analysis comes from Weaver-Hightower who is a PhD tutor (How to write up a discourse analysis, 2015). He takes us through what is needed at each stage of the write-up, from title to references. I learnt a lot from this video which refers to a paper by Zimmermann which is exemplary (Zimmermann, 2012). That work is more a focused literature review than a discourse analysis but he takes us through the detail of what should be included.

The other book that I have found helpful is edited by King and Watson (King and Watson, 2005). It has several papers on public health themes which are short discourse analyses and as such are useful examples of how to write about a health subject. I have already referenced it in A 2 about the role of TV doctors. The most useful thing is the introduction and the sections which summarise applicable theory and writings. 

The other paper that is helpful is Lupton’s but this is old and simply suggest the merits of critical discourse analysis. (Lupton, 1992)

2.1.1 My Learning

  1. The Weaver-Hightower gives detail about what needs to go in my essay to show that this is a well-done discourse analysis. For example, in the methods section he advises writing about why texts are chosen and even examples of analysis and use of quotations. I am not sure about the latter, but I undertand how he is organinising the paper.
  2. I think that it is this structural approach to thinking about the writing, and the Zimmermann example, that will help shape what I do as well as what to include as writing. I am not sure what areas to feature but they could include;
  • The formation of a Covid icon: Dr Chris Whitty and the daily TV Covid Briefing
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: the role of the film audience in character development and reception
  • The medical portrait: an instrument of the institution
  • From Dr Kildare to Dr House: is this really a change?
  • The myth of the caring GP

One of the problems is that, while I am interested in these and more areas, I am not sure of an overarching idea that will draw these themes together. Perhaps it is back to Rose’s ideas of sites (places) of critical methodology (Rose, 2016).

  • Production
  • The image itself
  • Circulation
  • Audiencing

That framework does not look right as a meta-narrative for my essay, although those elements could feature in the areas that I investigate. Maybe heroes, villains, Dr heart, Dr Celebrity, etc. are ‘types’ of doctors that I should investigate further. I have done my own work on Typologies early in my degree. I have also been looking at Dr jokes and typologies and stereotypes (Harendza and Pyra, 2017; Munro and Nabavi, 2020; Oxtoby, 2013).


Dijk, T. (1993) ‘Principles of critical discourse analysis’ In: Discourse and Society 4 (2) pp.249–283.

Harendza, S. and Pyra, M. (2017) ‘Just fun or a prejudice? – physician stereotypes in common jokes and their attribution to medical specialities by undergraduate medical students’ In: BMC Medical Education 17 (1) p.128. At: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-017-0964-6

How to write up a discourse analysis (2015) Directed by Weaver-Hightower. [YouTube video] YouTube.com. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch/pkwfJlNkRvw (Accessed  09/02/2021).

King, M. and Watson, K. (2005) Representing Health: discourses of health and illness in the media. Houndmills, Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lupton, D. (1992) ‘Discourse analysis: A new methodology for understanding the ideologies of health and illness’ In: Australian journal of public health 16 pp.145–50.

Munro, C. and Nabavi, N. (2020) Medical stereotypes: Just good fun or a barrier to diversity in our workforce?. At: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/11/18/medical-stereotypes-just-good-fun-or-a-barrier-to-diversity-in-our-workforce/ (Accessed  09/02/2021).

Oxtoby, K. (2013) ‘Do the classic speciality stereotypes still hold true for today’s doctors?’ In: BMJ 347 At: https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f7454

Rose, G. (2016) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. (4th ed.) London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Zimmermann, C. (2012) ‘Acceptance of dying: a discourse analysis of palliative care literature’ In: Social Science and Medicine 75 pp.217–224.

3. Thinking about structure

17th January 2021

I have been largely reading medical discourse books and papers this week in order to get to my key theme. This is my structure today as I continue to write my draft A3 document.

SAMPLE 3: Draft of A3 outline


Chapters 1







Chapter 2


What is medical doctor identity?

How is it shaped?

Does doctor identity matter?

Chapter 2

Medical culture


            Sites of production

The medical and other institutions

                                    Media organisations

Doctors themselves


Institutions and galleries



The patient audience

The doctor audience


Chapter 3 (2nd alternative)


                        Genres examined

                        Theoretical framework

Discourse analysis

Other theories

Other approaches

                        Analysis example

Chapter 4

Testing out my hypothesis


The formation of the ‘hero’ doctor

What is the evidence?

Visual representations 

            Of God and icons

            The Victorian medical portrait

            The advent of the mass media

                        Life’s ’Country Doctor’ 

                                                Mass media and the internet?

                                                            From Dr Findlay to George Clooney

                                                            Dr Chris Whitey as celebrity and icon

The formation of the ‘villainous’ doctor

            What is the evidence?

‘Bloody” surgeons and grave robbers

                        Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde go to the movies

Representing Dr Harold Shipman

                        The formation of another kind of doctor – a ‘third person’

What is the evidence?

Dr House challenges the doctor stereotype

Chris Currie’s ‘The three oncologists’

Doctors representing themselves on the internet

The end of the ‘white male’ doctor image? 

What might the future doctor look like?

                        Answering my hypothesis



Primary sources

Other references

4. A change of tack

March 30th 2021

It is three or four weeks since I had feedback about A2 and with my tutor’s help, I realised that I was not writing about what I needed to be writing about – the issue is power and not iconography or medical formation.

I have spent the last few weeks studying and making notes on several of Foucault’s books and Stuart Hall’s ‘Representation.’ I think I now have a much better understanding of the discursive approach and the issues it does and does not address. Hall’s theory and examples are really helpful in understanding visual influences, types and othering.

I realised that I will have to do the work of applying theory and commentary to my area as few other people have done that for my subject. It is my work to produce that essay, which is shaped by my identity, part of which is to challenge contemporary representations of doctors.

My other decision is to focus on medical power and challenge in visual representations, in other words, a thematic rather than a historical or linear approach.

I can also see that my BOW has a natural place in CS as that challenges medical dominance.

There are some problematic areas, such as whether we have a separate section about medical culture, types and stereotypes, the villainous and hero doctor, and the role of the institution. Perhaps that will become clearer when I explore my two hypotheses.

SAMPLE 4: New outline of introduction

Title: Challenging medical dominance in visual representations of doctors: A discourse analysis (depends if proves to be discursive. )

Chapter 1


Quotation. “The establishment of normalcy (i.e. what is accepted as ‘ normal’) through social-and stereotypes is one aspect of the habit of ruling groups…to attempt to fashion the wile of society according to their own world view, value system, sensibility and ideology. So right is this world view for the ruling groups that they make it appear (as it does to them) as ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’ – and for everyone – and as far as they succeed, they establish their hegemony. (Dyer, 1977;30)

Annotated bibliography style argument – starting with evidence of medical dominance. Straight in and very tight. Australia. TV doctor research. Nead. ? Growth status doctors 18c unregulated quacks to respected doctors of the new technology 19c such vaccination. Dominant sculptures and paintings were displayed recently in institutions such as the National Gallery. Lupton change in patient orientation. Doctor as icon?

I also looked at two areas of challenging representations; anti-masking and the three doctors. I will explore this theme fully including examples from my BOW.

Look at role institutions audiences circulation of images etc

Highlighting postulated questions. How is medical dominance formed and expressed in visual media, and is there a counter narrative that challenges this?


1. There appear to be three pivotal changes in doctor representations – the 19century, the arrival of mass media in 1950’s and in last 1980s.

2. That doctor classification tends to be bipolar, as heroes and villains but preliminary evidence suggests that is otherwise.


Literature: I have used university and other databases, looking for publications and images using the key words of identity iconography ideology, medical culture and representation

My approach is multi-method using theoretical frameworks primarily using a discursive approach to analysing the production of medical knowledge and power, and Halls theories about representation. I also use theories on stereotyping by Dyer, Barthes and Panovsky analysing images, and several other commentators and theoreticians

Chapter 2

An example of medical dominance: Dr Whitty and the Covid briefing

The ‘No 10‘ Covid 19 briefing has been an important UK televisual and societal event in 2020-21. Figure X shows a Covid briefing of Feb 2021. Figure Y is close up one presenter Dr Chris Whitty. Labelling. Names. Lectures. Union Jacks. Three wise men. Downing st motif. No 10. Layered messaging before anything is said. Use of graphs – data

Applying Hall’s ideas about circles of culture. We need to look at audience reception. In the main accepted but structured challenge heightens sense dialogue with the journalist people and the nation.

A feature of that acceptance is the establishment of chits Whitty as an icon. He is described as geeky but admired for his careful speech; you may not trust the overpromusing and underdelivery of politicians but you do trust the doctor.

We will see later that doctors, as well as politicians, control the production, dissemination although there are challenges largely expressed in social media including anti suckers that refuse the ideological view of doctors and the government and the BBC. We will see more of this challenge to the medical dominance in media later

The Circuit of Culture incorporates the interrelated elements of representation, production, identity, regulation and consumption as processes through which cultural phenomena may be analysed (du Gay, et al., 1997).

Chapter 3: The formation of medical identity, ideology and influence

In this section, we explore how medical identity is constructed practices that respond and shape to societal and other factors, and investigate the hypothesis that there have been three pivotal periods for doctor representations.

3.1 From quackery to respectability

Rowland image

Doctors were not always popular in medieval times they were seen of a poor reputation as bloodied surgeons and quacks. Foucault dates the change in status to the end of the 18 Century although most changes were reflected in visual culture from the mid 19 century.

Foucault. Messages. Practices. People. Changes. Fildes. New kind of doctor. Institution. Public health technology. ? Patient demands. Certification. Herbal remedies.

It appears to be a pivitol change creating and reflecting new attitudes and practices in health care.

3.2 Magazine culture/mass media representations

Before the 20cenrmtury medical images of doctors were for the institution and Jordanova. Contrast these two images. One from a recent exhibition of patients and the other

3.3 Medical documentaries and soap culture

Are there three pivotal moments in the representation of doctors. The evidence for a radical change in 18-19century is good. I conclude that mass media reflections as in the iconic image reflects a further change. Paradoxically. For media soaps there is a sustains stereotypes conservative object of communication education an pleasure. What is less certain is how the internet representations have changed althoug I will revie this later as lol at challenges to medical dominance.

4. Types and stereotypes: Heroes and villains?

Can doctor representations binary or is there something that is not trepresented or suppressed. We have already discussed iconic hero doctors such as Jenner and Whitty, the latter with attended Facebook appreciation society and celebrity mugs.

Stereotypes and types.

Jelly Hyde. Shipman. Soaps. Fly on the wall. Hyde , which predates Freud, is instructive.

Chapter 5.

I want to proposes 4 examples that challenge medical dominance: an image from the AIDS epidemic, a contemporary painting, an my own body of work

5.1 Benneton’ man dying with AIDS.

5.2 Currie’s portrait ‘The three Doctor’

5.3 My body of work

6. Discussion

7. Conclusions

5. Moving forwards

I have been writing and editing at the same time as researching new ideas. Here is my final framework and a sample of my text. It is very different from my literature review, but I am happy that I am on the right lines and also producing something that is relevant and interesting.

5.1 SAMPLE 5: Final framework


1.1 Introduction

  • Intention: How and why do medical institutions dominate and control images of health care? Where is the photographic challenge to medical hegemony?
  • Definition medical dominance
  • Literature review medical dominance (300). 
  • Hypotheses 1: Are there three pivotal periods of changes in medical dominance of doctors? (From A2)
  • Hypotheses 2: Are there alternatives to stereotypes of doctors as heroes and villains? (From A2)

1.2 Methodology

  • Discourse analysis with semiotic analysis of images (Rose, 2016: chapters 8 and 9).

1.2.1 Literature

  • Worked example, 18-19C changes in medical culture (90).

1.2.2 Theoretical frameworks (220)

  • Foucault – textual and contextual discourse analysis of power relations within medical institutions  (Foucault, 1996). 
  • Sociology of medical culture and power (Lupton, 2003)
  • Hall – meaning and representation in medical visual culture (Hall et al., 2013)
  • Barthes – signs, meanings and mythology (Barthes, 1977, 1957). 
  • Bourdieu – cultural capital and habitus in doctor identity formation (Huang, 2019

Chapter 2 (750 words)


  • Analysis of two images – Institutions employ motifs, graphs and language to emphasise knowledge/power. 
  • My content analysis
  • Mythologies of ‘war’ and ‘greatness,’ ideological system and practices
  • ‘Rules’ that counter resistance.

Chapter 3 (1,500 words)


3.1 Introduction (177)

  • Not always dominant; Asclepius, Hippocrates, Christianity then unpopular quacks
  • What practices produce medical dominance – how and why
  • Hypothesis 

3.2 Fildes and ‘The Doctor’ medical portrait (600)

  • Pivotal point of change
  • Semiotic analysis of portrait. 
  • Advent of medical certification, patient power and expectation, changing ideologies, medical schools, ‘end’ of patronage. 
  • Mass audience distribution and acceptance.

3.3 Mass media and audiences

3.3.1 The Country Doctor (200)

  • Image analysis
  • Extension of ‘family’ and ‘caring’ doctor…mass audiences, on every coffee table

3.3.2 TV medical dramas (200)

  • Experiments with doctor representation…pedlars of biomedicine
  • …conservatism and reinforcement of medical dominance.

3.3.3 Contemporary presentations (200)

  • The visible and invisible doctor 
  • Coronavirus doctors
  • Media and medical control.

3.4 Habitus and cultural capital in training doctors (250)

  • Lupton – identity formation, cultural phases, institutions
  • Armstrong – power relations in medical encounters in the everyday practices of habitus, (Lupton, 2003; Armstrong, 2018)

3.5 Reviewing hypothesis

Chapter 4 (1,500 words)


  • Theoretical frameworks – Foucault, Flusser (Flusser, 2016)

4.1 Benetton poster – man dying of AIDS (400)

  • Semiotic analysis of Toscani’s poster: ‘shock’ to medical perceptions of illness and the power of biomedicine.

4.2 Photographic practice about the body (200)

  • Challenges to medical gaze – Jo Spence. 
  • Medical MRI imaging – discipline and authority – Cartwright (Cartwright, 1995)

4.3 Currie’s “The Three doctors” (250)

  • A challenge to painterly conventions about doctor representation or reinforcing medical hegemony?  

4.4 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (300)

  • Stereotyping – heroes and villains – Shipman and Whitty. The hidden ‘ordinary (third) man’ of this story.
  • Response to hypothesis 2

4.5 My body of work (400)

  • Previous practice
  • Displaying an ‘inner’ life – the distressed doctor – outside the stereotype – intertextuality of work
  • Semiotic discussion of two created works

Chapter 5 (500 words)




5.2 Sample text

1. From the beginning of Chapter 1 (114 of words)

“…ruling groups…attempt to fashion the whole of society according to their own world view, value system, sensibility and ideology. So right is this world view for the ruling groups that they make it appear (as it does to them) as ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’ – and for everyone – and as far as they succeed, they establish their hegemony. (Dyer, 1977;30)


This paper examines how and why medical institutions dominate and control images of health care and investigates photographic and other challenges to this medical hegemony.

Starr defines medical dominance as “the power of doctors to control the actions of other through commands and cultural authority deriving from the value accorded to medical knowledge” (Starr, 1982)…

2. The whole of Chapter 2 (746 words)

Medical dominance in the ‘Coronavirus Press Briefing.’

Do institutions control people’s responses to medical images and knowledge?  Figures 1 and 2 are images from a televised ‘Coronavirus Press Briefing’ (BBC News Special: Coronovirus Update 15/02/2021, 2021). This was shown after the 3rd wave peak of cases when 15 million people had received their first vaccine.

Figure 1: Screensave of BBC News Special: Coronovirus Update 15/02/2021, 2021; 32.05 mins

Figure 2: Screensave of BBC News Special: Coronovirus Update 15/02/2021, 2021; 38.05 mins

The denotive aspects of this video are that three people enter a room to stand behind wooden lecterns which have placards on them which say, “Stay home – Protect the NHS – Save lives.” Screen texts inform us that this is the ‘Prime Minister,’ flanked by the ‘Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Chris Whitty,’ and ‘Chief Executive Officer of the NHS,’ Sir Simon Stevens. The Downing Street logo fills a TV screen to the left of the room and a suited man is signing speech to the right of the image. The room is wood-panelled, with elaborate light holders, a bright patterned carpet in front of the speakers and unfurled Union Jack flags visible in an anteroom (Fig 1).

The conative aspects are of these scenes are that three institutions orchestrate a display. The first is a broadcasting company that answers to government and “reflects the balance of opinion amongst elites” (Mills and Sinclair, 2017). Next, the institute of government is represented by its prime politician and two senior medical doctors, who also represent medical institutions and are answerable to politicians. This is a display of governmental, media and medical power; power within power, within power. This is a lecture about managing covid-19; most of us accept the reading that they have the knowledge and authority to do this, because ‘that is their job’ or ‘they know what’s best.’ Dr Whitty employs graphical images to re-enforce their knowledge credentials. 

My content analysis participant’s speech reveals two main themes; “the vaccine rollout is going well’ and ‘there is still a threat as infection rates are very high.’ The commonest word used after “vaccine” was “high or very high;” Prof Chris Whitty used the latter word five times. The Prime Minister’s celebrates “powering past the target’s we have set,” and helping “vulnerable people” (the third most used phrase) and being cautious for the future. The context of this briefing is that it pre-dates a “road map” for reducing constraints amidst pressure from conservative politicians and other critics to release social restraints; they are the target audience for this briefing. 

Several myths are referenced in this tableau of signs and signifiers. The first is  ‘war briefings’ from the 1940’s; the union flag, the paneled room at “No 10”, reference past war successes. This analogy is inferred yet understood by viewers; “The meaning is already complete, it postulates a kind of knowledge, a past, a memory, a comparative order of facts, ideas and decisions (Barthes, 1957). The Prime Minister ‘wrapped’ in the Union Jack references past glories of when Britain was ‘Great,’ (Johnson, 2014). In this context his analogy reflects the success of British technology to produce a successful vaccine. These ideological systems, whose meanings and messages are orchestrated and founded on culture, knowledge and history, are read consciously or unconsciously by viewers.

One might argue that medical and political dominance in Covid-19 policy is a ‘preferred’ response; it is a natural, ideological and hegemonic. Doctors gift patients the power of a clinical gaze where patients accept their scientific knowledge. The problem is that not everyone shares this ideological view, which leaves little room for disagreement, challenge or counter narratives, such as those about delayed lockdown and increased coronavirus deaths. We see this in the ‘Q and A’ session of this briefing, where press and  public are given an opportunity ‘challenge’ this strategic dominance. The leadership trio control what is sayable and ignore or neutralises disagreements, while superficially giving the appearance of public accountability. 

In his later writings Foucault comments that systems of power are usually strategic and always include plans to nullify dissent, “every relationship of power tends, both through its intrinsic course of development and when frontally encountering resistances, to become a winning strategy” (Foucault, 1994).

To summarise, in this Covid-19 briefing we see a regime of representation with visual and textual practices about medical knowledge of how to manage a pandemic, rules about talking about the pandemic and counter-narratives, and practices for dealing with people – its polities. In this essay we will explore how we have arrived at these polities and means of representation and examine challenges to medical dominance in visual culture.


Key References

Armstrong, M. (2018) Goodbye whistleblowers: the new truth-tellers in the age of resistance. http://www.mantlethought.org/philosophy/goodbye-whistleblowers-new-truth-tellers-age-resistance.

Barthes, R. (1957) Mythologies. (2012th ed.) New York: Hill and Wang (Originally published Editions du Seuill).

Barthes, R. (1977) ‘The rhetoric of the image.’ In: Image-Music-Text. New York: Hill and Wang. At: https://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/Barthes-Rhetoric-of-the-image-ex.pdf (Accessed  06/11/2020).

BBC News Special: Coronavirus Update 15/02/2021 (2021) Directed by BBC. 15/02/2021. At: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000ssfg/bbc-news-special-coronavirus-update-15022021?page=4 (Accessed  16/03/2021).

Cartwright, L. (1995) Screening the Body : Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Flusser, V. (2016) Towards a philosophy of photography. (Originally published in German in 1983) Glasgow: Bell and Bain.

Foucault, M. (1994) Power: Essential Works 1954-84: Volume Three. (s.l.): Penguin Books.

Foucault, M. (1996) The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception. Oxford: Vintage; Reprint edition (1 May 1996).

Hall, S. et al. (2013) Representation. (Second) London: Sage.

Huang, X. (2019) ‘Understanding Bourdieu – Cultural Capital and Habitus’ In: Review of European Studies 11 p.45.

Johnson, B. (2014) Rule Britannia. At: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Rule-Britannia/ (Accessed  27/04/2021).

Lupton, D. (2003) Medicine as Culture. (s.l.): Sage Publications Ltd.

Mills, T. and Sinclair, I. (2017) The BBC is neither independent or impartial: an interview with Tom Mills. At: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ourbeeb/bbc-is-neither-independent-or-impartial-interview-with-tom-mills/ (Accessed  27/04/2021).

Rose, G. (2016) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. (4th ed.) London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Starr, P. (1982) The Social Transformation of American Medicine. New York: Basic Books.

5.3 Reflections on the submission

I think that the framework is much better especially now I have that section which is about challenging medical culture. I am not sure if some elements will continue such as the Dr Jekyll and Hyde piece as newer examples such as the Benetton advert say more about challenging medical and societal culture. I like the analysis of the Covid briefing, but am not sure how much to write or amplify it. Perhaps I have too many headings and less is needed but of more depth.

I am not sure I have cracked the theoretical themes in this, but I continue to study my key texts where Foucault has a lot to say about the formation of medical power and resistance to it.