THE ENDOSCOPIC GAZE: OBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIFICATION GO INSIDE THE BODY (AND OUT AGAIN)

Robyn Fadden

Abstract


Endoscopy is a medical technique used for exploratory or surgical purposes, wherein a small camera-like device attached to the end of a probe is inserted into the body through a natural orifice or an incision if necessary. In the past, starting as early as the beginning of the 19th century, the endoscope was just that, a scope, and the physicians were the only ones who saw what it showed. However, in the past 20 years, a digital camera has been added to the scope, allowing surgeons to operate not only by looking directly into the scope but at a television-like monitor as well. Often the patient is able to view the exploration of his or her own body on this screen or might see a recording after surgery. With this evolution in the technology to include the creation of images or representations of the body, endoscopy’s impact transcended the medical field to become a form of media, a way of representing the world of the body and the body in the world. José Van Dijck points out that further explorations of endoscopic technology increased when the media disseminated video images of the inside of the body, sparking the interest of the general public. This interest only grows as endoscopic technologies continue to advance and their sociocultural impacts continue to develop.

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