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Sociology in Medicine

Carey L. Usher


Sociology in medicine is the label given to the collaborative work between sociologists and medical or health personnel within medical institutions or health care organizations. This distinction represents the applied work of medical sociologists in the pure versus applied dichotomy of the social sciences. In its most extreme form, sociology in medicine encompasses sociological work aimed at the provision of technical skills and problem solving for the medical community while neglecting contributions to the parent discipline. Medical sociology, like its parent discipline, experienced dual roles early in its institutionalization. The distinction between applied and pure work in medical sociology arose in conjunction with the desire for a communication network that would identify the activities and affiliations of medical sociologists in the United States. Sociology in medicine and sociology of medicine were the names designated for applied and pure work, respectively, by Robert Straus in 1957. Sociology in medicine represents the thrust toward reform, advocacy, and application, with which medical sociologists responded to the call for inclusion of clinical research in the social components of health and illness. During the 1950s and 1960s, the roles of the social sciences in health care organizations experienced significant increases due to expansion of medical schools, increased ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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