Prochain colloque iEH2

Lundi 11 octobre 2021
12h15 - 13h30


Toward a History of the Experience of Placebo

Intervenant : Rob Boddice, (PhD, FRHistS), Senior Research Fellow, Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences, Tampere University, Finland; Adjunct Professor, Department of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University, Canada.


The puzzle of placebo is increasingly understood, but it has no history to speak of. Those who have attempted to write it have repeatedly announced the history of folk cures for painful problems, especially in the era before ‘scientific medicine’, to be ‘bizarre’. What happens when we take seriously the functioning of the biocultural brain in past contexts, accounting for situated beliefs, emotions, perceptions, sensations, conceptions and knowledge? Here I aim simply to suggest a framework for studying the history of the placebo effect, displacing attention from the inert medicament to the brain-body-world dynamic in which it was administered. Projecting neuroscientific work on placebo into the past, I suggest we can reach an understanding of the history of pain and pain relief not only through analgesics and anaesthesia, but also through belief, ritual, and hope.


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17 mai 2021