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Position Pieces

Vol 7 No 2: September issue


  • Narelle Warren
  • Courtney Addison
December 21, 2018
June 16, 2020


The curative imaginary is a powerful driver of hope and investment in medicine, often displacing attention and resources given to other illness-related fields of practice. Whereas cure implies an end to the sick role and the possibility of an absolute state of health, in practice those fields that are touted as having high curative potential grapple with the ongoing nature and incompleteness of post-cure care. By capturing the public imagination and channelling research and funding in particular directions, the motif of cure risks drawing resources away from other, less seductive forms of treatment, and towards the technological at the expense of the social. Drawing on our research into precision medicine and deep brain stimulation, we track how cure operates as a concept in these fields, and compare this to how medical practitioners actually care for patients. We argue that a critical engagement with post-cure possibilities offers an opportunity to challenge and rethink what constitutes good medical care, as well as the social, political, and economic underpinnings of medical innovation.