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The Social Transformation of American…

The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign… (1982)

by Paul Starr

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In The Social Transformation of American Medicine, Paul Starr argues, "The dominance of the medical profession...goes considerably beyond this rational foundation. Its authority spills over its clinical boundaries into arenas of moral and political action for which medical judgment is only partially relevant and often incompletely equipped. Moreover, the profession has been able to turn its authority into social privilege, economic power, and political influence" (pg. 5). He bases his analysis on three premises: "Social structure is the outcome of historical processes" (pg. 7); "the organization of medical care cannot be understood with reference solely to medicine, the relations between doctors and patients, or even all the various forces internal to the health care sector" (pg. 8); and "the problem of professional sovereignty calls for an approach that encompasses both culture and institutions" (pg. 8). With this focus and organizing premises, Starr traces medicine's social role from the colonial era through the Clinton administration. Anyone interested in medical history will find this an invaluable source while those studying medicine should read this to better contextualize their own place in American society so that they can work with greater self-awareness. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Nov 24, 2017 |
I had to read this for my Health Law class. It was *excellent*. Anyone interested on how we got from there to here in the medical mess that we call health insurance, it's a must read. My only complaint is that it's dated since it was published in the '80s. I'd love to see a second edition. Don't call me crazy fellow Health Law students. :) ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
How medicine fell from being a humanitarian profession to an entreprenurial enterprise. ( )
  smudgedlens | Nov 3, 2007 |
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My Father
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I have divided this history into two books to emphasize two long movements in the development of American medicine; first the rise of professional sovereignty; and second the transformation of medicine into an industry and the growing, though still unsettled, role of corporations and the state.
The dream of reason did not take power into account.
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"The definitive social history of the medical profession in America.  .... a monumental achievement ... laced with wit and irony and graced with style. For all its scholarship, it is intensely readable - and intensely relevant ... should become the reference standard for every citizen'a understanding of medical care, the sourcebook for every Congressional  debate over our social commitments to the ill and a guide to the humane system we may yet create."
~ H Jack Geiger, MD, Front Page, New York Times Book Review

"The most ambitious and important analysis of American medicine to appear in over a decade ... If you read only one book about american medicine, this is the one you should read."
~Ronald Numbers, Science

"A tour de force - a provocative, insightful study that is both scholarly and readable."
~ Arnold Relman, Editor, New England Journal of Medicine

"Superb sociology, superior history - and essential reading for anyone interested in the fate of American medicine.
~ Newsweek

"A major work by one of the best sociologists of his generation."
~ Daniel Bell, Harvard University

"Brilliant, an important contribution, a book that anyone with a serious interest in the field out to read."
~ Alain Enthoven, Stanford Business School

Winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in General Non-Fiction, the 1984 Bancroft Prize in American history and the 1983 C. Wright Mills Award in sociology.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465079350, Paperback)

Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize in American History, this is a landmark history of how the entire American health care system of doctors, hospitals, health plans, and government programs has evolved over the last two centuries."The definitive social history of the medical profession in America....A monumental achievement."--H. Jack Geiger, M.D., "New York Times Book Review"

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

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