Symbolic Encounters in Communicating Pain

  • Nora L. JonesEmail author


Practitioners and those who suffer chronic pain inhabit distinct symbolic worlds. Expectations of what pain looks like and how it can be visually represented differ in important ways depending both on one’s motivations for wanting to see and visually represent pain and by how one evaluates valid and applicable evidence of pain. Thus, the visual representation of the body in pain cannot take a singular form, but is instead a multifaceted collection of images stemming from the unique positions, needs, and motivations of the varied creators and viewers. Within this collection of representations, three categories stand out: biomedical diagnostic imaging ordered by practitioners; art created by individuals suffering from chronic pain; and, as we are increasingly seeing as we prepare to close out the second decade of the twenty-first century, art produced by individuals suffering addiction stemming from unmanaged pain and, for those who lose their battle, memorial art created by surviving loved ones.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and PolicyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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