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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Kimberly Jamie

Jamie, K. (2014). The Pharmacy Gaze: Bodies in Pharmacy Practice. Sociology of Health and Illness 36(8): 1141-1155.

Author(s) from Durham


The body is a central feature of pharmacy practice. Despite this and the increased sociological focus on bodies in health and social care practice, the nature of the body and the work undertaken upon it in pharmacy have not been explored. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with hospital and community pharmacists, this article explores the ways in which bodies are constructed and managed in these two practice contexts. It is argued that pharmacists see patients' bodies in particular ways given their expertise in medicines, which is conceptualised here as the pharmacy gaze. The notion of complexity, as a way of constructing the body, and the generation of algorithmic bodies, as a way of managing this complexity, are shown to be central to the pharmacy gaze in both hospital and community contexts. In hospitals, complexity was located in a singular body, that is, increasingly rationalised to reduce costs and toxicity. In community practice, complexity arose from the multiplicity of bodies with which pharmacists interact in their multifaceted role as retailers, dispensers and public health practitioners. The article concludes by reflecting on the ways in which current UK health policy may broaden the body work that English pharmacists undertake.