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For the past decade, within family medicine there has been a focus on cultivating doctors gut feelings as ‘a way of knowing’ in cancer diagnostics. In this paper, building on interviews with family doctors in Oxford shire, UK we explore the embodied and temporal dimensions of clinical reasoning and how the cultivation of doctors’ gut feelings is related to hierarchies of medical knowledge, professional training, and doctors’ fears of litigation. Also, we suggest that the introduction of gut feeling in clinical practice is an attempt to develop a theory of clinical reasoning that fits the biopolitics of our contemporary. The turn towards predictive medicine and the values introduced by accelerated diagnostic regimes, we conclude, introduce a need for situated and embodied modes of reading bodies. We contribute theoretically by framing our analysis within a sensorial anthropology approach.

Original publication




Journal article


Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

Publication Date





564 - 581