Notes on Medical Sociology

Notes on Medical Sociology

Moreover, medicine is a social institution of normative coercion, and medical sociology studies not only the subjective experience of health and illness but also the social, economical, and political intent within those experiences take part. We said that medicine is coercive since doctors regulate our lives through medical treatments and conceptualizing society (for example crime and rebellious acts). Thus, we can talk about a “medical regime” and a “medical government” (p. Xiv).

Historically speaking, from the creation of medical sociology as a specific subfield of sociology (in the 1 ass’s), it has been focus on the study of the relation between doctor-patient with vital importance of the “sick role” (Parsons). But it must study beyond that relation; social class, ethnicity, ender, age, demographical issues, epidemiology, globalization… All these elements become relevant nowadays (p. Xvi). Chapter 8 – The new medical sociology Our world has witnessed a huge international change called globalization.

It has changed social and economical relations, and also political. Health issues such as HIVE/AIDS have been spread by globalization (the increase of tourism, more flights, migration, trade… So on). “Globalization has integrated world health into a single, highly interconnected system” (p. 270). Thus, globalization spreads diseases (97 million people traveled by air from the States to other countries by the mid-1 sass).

Medical sociology has studied health and illness and medicine as a social institution, also, it has created a complete body of knowledge, but we need to make a greater emphasis in other elements like economics, politics, rights, and citizenship, all of them key elements in the contemporary society. In few words, we need a new medical sociology since we have a new medical economy, which is based on the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, research and development in genetics, microbiology, information science, management of life processes (reproduction, aging, death… P. 271). “In more direct terms, the medial economy is based on the production, reproduction, and management of the human body” (p. 272). The modern context of medicine The medical profession used to rest on political powers and on the trust of the public. This statement entails the existence of a medical dominance and the existence of a consulting ethic. But these elements have changed because Of the globalization (a global and corporate medical system) and the commercial potential of health and illness, changing the relations between doctors and patients.

However, not always doctors have got such a great social prestige; medical discoveries like immunization, or improvement in surgery like anesthesia, electrolyte physiology, or cardiopulmonary physiology in the 20th century, had established medicine as a scientific authority and a prestige profession. Nevertheless, medical technology has advanced and it ruined medicine’s autonomy, but these technological advances entail risks and dangers for social rights (p. 273). All these things have challenged the trust in medicine and doctors as professionals (p. 74). “Any understanding of medicine in contemporary society will have to examine he economics of the corporate structure of medical practice and locate that corporate structure within a set of global processes” (p. 274). The new medical economy has spread diseases and old pandemics, panicking society in specific cases like AIDS (Hollywood films have reflected that panic/fear). In this way, the new medical sociology must draw attention to citizenship and civil rights, like a clean environment, adequate food and water supplies, medical services… P. 275). The centralization of health and medical care has changed, as well, the model of health care. Nowadays we must study international health policies, which entail vital problems because of the nations’ sovereignty and international treatments (like the human rights). As we see, politics are really related to the new medical economy (p. 276) NP: SE habit De medicine alternative, peer sat SE llama “alternative” porous hay nun dominate.

Thus, the new medical economy is liked with the rise of neo-liberal policies and ideology, and they do not suit with the social-welfare- working-class ideology of Europe, where the health is a social and public issue (centralized more or less by the state), whereas in the States health is a riveter-individual matter (related to philanthropy as well) (p. 277). “The modern development of corporate control over medical care as contributed to the decline of professional autonomy, initiative, and social status” (p. 278).

Furthermore, the free-market policies has undermined the welfare State in Europe and increased more the gap between classes in the US, increasing the poverty rates and the infant mortality. Also, the changes within the medical care system have brought physicians face to face since now there are more specialists (p. 279). The centralization of health care has also undermined the trust in doctors, since there are lots of different possibilities in the market (p. 279) NP: SE ha period Confucian en la medicine o en Los mdiscos com functionaries p;bliss.

Se descend[a De Ia technological o De Ia bureaucratic. Reproductive technologies, m cardiology, and genetic engineering have supposed huge changes within the medical system and the public confidence in the medical professionals. Moreover, they have entailed a medical revolution which affects to all social rights (p. 280). “This revolution is a threat to traditional institutions and religious cosmologies, but it may also halogen the processes Of political governance” (p. 281 Thus, the new medical sociology must take into account the concept of risk society/global risk.

This notion of risk has to do with the unintended and unexpected results of medical research and experimentation (p. 281 In this way, the globalization and the expansion of capitalism have introduced private business into public universities and research centers, creating bias within the investigations and doing less critical works. Moreover, within the new system there is a big problem with the patents of drugs (p. 282). (Examples De arboreal con patents en Africa y USA p;g. 283).

Regulation, the professions, and scientific knowledge “Globalization has intensified the dynamic relationship of risk and regulations” (p. 284). Regulations and deregulation play a complex game influenced by global economy and its logic. Pharmaceutical companies and their drugs’ side effects are protected, in many cases, by federal laws and federal agencies in the States. Some drugs constitute a whole lifestyle, like Approach or Pixel. The sociology of health and illness must study the measures of controlling these risks and the social agents that can make it possible; either the state or medical profession (p. 286).

In the 1 sass Parsons published The Social System, developing the concept of the sick role, and the notion of medical profession as a completely autonomous profession capable of manage its business and make a beneficial contribution to the medical academy. Moreover, he stated the existence and need of a medical power which consists in a medical regime that must be accepted by the patient in order to return to a “normal/healthy’ state (since sickness is a kind of deviance). However, medical profession has proved that it is not so autonomous and it depends in these days on economical powers and financial relations (p. 86). In Britain, successive governments have tried to create medical markets in order to create medical competence (and they were successful as well as the changes within education system). The professions are disappearing, “the professions are not and cannot be effective regulatory devices in a global-risk society” (p. 288). The risk society has complex socioeconomic relations, thus, governments need specialized and expert opinions. But the scientific knowledge is profoundly linked with political issues and ideology.

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