Theoretical injections: On the therapeutic aesthetics of medical spaces

Soc Sci Med. 2009 Sep;69(5):716-21. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.06.040. Epub 2009 Jul 15.


In this paper we present a dialogue about the seemingly innocuous presence of environmental art in hospital settings as a way of furthering critical perspectives on the therapeutic landscapes concept and its application to medical spaces. We explicitly consider the potential utility of two perspectives, Foucaultian and Lacanian readings, for understanding the relationship between environmental art and the hospital waiting room. We use this paper as a vehicle to demonstrate how such theoretical perspectives can enhance critical scholarship on the therapeutic landscape concept, particularly as it is applied to settings such as health clinics and hospitals. A brief agenda for further critical engagements with the therapeutic nature of health care spaces is put forth in the conclusion.

MeSH terms

  • Art*
  • Environment
  • Esthetics
  • Hospital Design and Construction*
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Philosophy, Medical
  • Psychology