There is significant research describing how the development of neuroscience has affected the definition and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, as well as brought about changes in research and care practices. Little is still known, however, about the ways in which these changes come about and on how they affect individuals’ – in particular, patients’ – experiences. In this chapter, I describe the changes imposed by neuroscientific practices not only on patients’ experience of their neurological or psychiatric disorder, but also on how they define themselves. In so doing, I draw on ethnographic research conducted among a neuroscientific team of a French hospital which has coordinated a research trial for the application of an experimental neurosurgical treatment – deep brain stimulation (DBS) – to patients suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder who are resistant to conventional treatments. This technology has been used since 1986 for treating various neurological and psychiatric disorders. My objective is to describe how the models of pathology conveyed by DBS and the experiences of patients suffering from a neurological or psychiatric disorder interact to constitute a form of personhood. I argue that, in certain situations, some of the patients attribute more significance to cerebrally orientated – or naturalistic – explanatory models and give a new value to their subjective experience: they ‘cerebralize’ and find inside the brain and its (dys)functions – or through an intervention on it – the source or the solution of a plurality of personal situations.
Moutaud, B. (2011), "Are we Receptive to Naturalistic Explanatory Models of our Disease Experience? Applications of Deep Brain Stimulation to Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and Parkinson's Disease", Pickersgill, M. and Van Keulen, I. (Ed.) Sociological Reflections on the Neurosciences (Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 179-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1057-6290(2011)0000013012
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