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Week 9 The Medical Profession.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 3G03
Professor
Rhona Shaw
Semester
Winter

Description
Week 9 ­ The Medical Profession Professionalization • As a profession, medicine is: o A relatively new idea  Emerged with the rise in power of the allopaths o Regarded as the prototypical model of what a profession is • Other professions have tried to emulate this model o e.g. lawyers, teachers, nurses, police • 3 conceptualization of a profession & professionalization: o profession as an occupation with specific characteristics o Profession as ideology o Professionalization as a result of processes of occupational change over time • we will look at an approach that o marries profession as a process of occupational change with profession as ideology • Johnson (1972, 1977, 1982) o Focused on the ways in which occupational groups become profession as they increase in  power  o He defined power as:  The ability of the professional practioners to define reality in an increasingly broad  way  Including the power to define what is the “good life” for their clients  i.e. the “right (healthy) way to live” o A fundamental characteristic of a profession is:  The ability of the group to impose its perspective and the necessity of its services  upon its clients o Professional power arises:  Out of the uncertainty in the relationship between the client and the professional  o This uncertainty stems from:  The social distance between the 2 groups   in terms of social class, gender, race/ethnicity, age, sexuality, etc • Degree of Power Held by a Professional Group o Involves 3 aspects o 1. The more esoteric the knowledge base, & the less accessible this knowledge is to the  lay public  The greater the power of the profession compared to the client group o 2. The greater the social distance between the client & the profession,  in terms of income, occupation, class position, gender,  The greater the power of the profession  o 3. The greater the homogeneity of the professional group in contrast to the heterogeneity  of the client group  The greater the power of the profession • Professional Dominance o Willis (1983) o 3 distinct processes by which the allopathic medical profession achieved dominance in  society o 1. Subordination   of other potentially competing or actually competing professionals to the direct  control of doctors  e.g. nursing profession, midwives o 2. Limitation   of the power of other occupations  e.g. dentistry, pharmacology   cannot encroach into doctor’s domain o Although these groups not under the direct control of allopaths, they are indirectly  controlled through legal restrictions o 3. Exclusion  certain occupations are denied official legitimacy & are not licensed ­ Ayurvedic  practitioners  Others are considered as alternatives – nautropathy, chiropractic  are not regarded as scientific, effective  however, this differs across countries – many countries recognize chiropractic,  acup
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