• 'Cine-med-ucation' and the hermeneutics of suspicion: representations of amnesia and cognitive impairment in film.

      Capstick, Andrea (2009)
      In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the use of arts, humanities and media-based approaches to teaching students in medicine, health, and social care-related disciplines. Here, it is widely assumed that 'the arts' are an undifferentiated force for good which will humanise curricula dominated by medical and scientific perspectives. Such approaches tend, however, to be implemented in something of a theoretical vacuum with little consideration of critical perspectives derived from cultural studies. 'Cinemeducation' is a term recently coined for the use of mainstream films which touch on particular medical conditions or 'disorders' in the education of medical students (Alexander et al, eds 2005). What is overlooked by advocates of this approach is that such films often perpetuate stereotypical views of the nature and causes of physical and emotional ill-being, and collude in their medicalisation. Scriptwriters and directors may also give in to the temptation to sensationalise or misrepresent conditions because this makes for box office success. Finally, there are subtleties related to denotation and connotation in film which mean that little can straightforwardly be assumed about educational outcomes. This presentation will draw on a study of both independent and mainstream films related to memory loss and cognitive impairment in the context of my own teaching in dementia studies, and will include clips from source material. Drawing on Ricoeur's concept of the hermeneutics of suspicion I seek to introduce a note of caution to the current 'arts and health' agenda.