• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This is the first international and inter-disciplinary social science Handbook on health and medicine. Five years in the making, and building on the insights and advice of an international editorial board, the book brings together world-class figures to provide an indispensable, comprehensive resource book on social science, health and medicine. Pinpointing the focal issues of research and debate in one volume, the material is organized into three sections: social and cultural frameworks of analysis; the experience of health and illness; and health care systems and practices. Each section consists of specially commissioned chapters designed to examine the vital conceptual and methodological practice and policy issues.

Clinical Narratives and the Study of Contemporary Doctor-Patient Relationships
Clinical narratives and the study of contemporary doctor-patient relationships
Introduction

In a series of essays published in JAMA, David Mechanic, one of the major medical sociologists of our era, addressed the contemporary eroding of traditions of ‘trust’ that has characterized ideal relationships between American physicians and their patients over much of the second half of the twentieth century (Mechanic 1997; Mechanic and Schlesinger 1996). The recent reorganization of American health services as capitated managed care systems, the shift in the balance of physicians' fiduciary responsibilities from individual patients to larger patient populations or stockholders in managed care groups, and shifts in professional relationships resulting from newly emerging biotechnologies have fostered public controversy and professional unrest (Gray 1997). From ...

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