• 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.

The Medical Profession: Knowledge, Power, and Autonomy
The medical profession: Knowledge, power, and autonomy
Introduction

Hardly a daily newspaper appears without an article about doctors or about the medical profession. On popular television programs physicians are portrayed either as humanistic healers meeting the complex demands of individual patients, or, more recently, as frantic super-heroes ministering to somewhat anonymous bodies in high-tech emergency rooms. At the same time, there are accounts of strife between governments, insurance companies, or hospitals and medical organizations over fees or costs. Newspapers report on the huge incomes of some doctors, the horrors visited upon patients by malpractice or malfeasance, and complaints by unorthodox healers of being persecuted by the medical profession. An apparently endless procession of new medical discoveries, as well as the ...

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