How do we understand health in relation to society? What role does culture play in shaping our experiences of, and orientation to, health and illness? How do we understand medicine and medical treatment within a sociological framework?

Medical Autonomy, Dominance and Decline

Medical Autonomy, Dominance and Decline

Medical autonomy, dominance and decline
Mary Ann ElstonJonathan Gabe

Medical autonomy is the publicly accepted control that the medical profession exercises over the terms and conditions of its work. Medical dominance is a relative concept, indicating the authority that the medical profession can exercise over other occupations within the health care division of labour, patients or society Since the 1980s, many medical sociologists have suggested that these characteristic expressions of professional power have been reduced by external challenges.

The concepts of autonomy and dominance inform discussions of professional power, especially in relation to the medical profession. Indeed, they have often been used as if they were interchangeable. Clearly, they are very closely related -logically and empirically. In a complex division of labour, only ...

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