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Industrialization and the Practice of Medicine: Movement and Countermovement

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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Using a data set of 50 countries, the relationship between industrialization and four measures of organized scientific health care is examined. The results strongly support the thesis of cultural convergence, i.e., one of the consequences of industrialization is the appearance of a scientific medical infrastructure available to all. However, the provision of modern allopathic medicine does not replace more traditional methods of health care. Data are marshalled which indicate that both traditional and modern systems of health care coexist in parallel structure, with the former being resorted to with considerably more frequency. Ranging from self-care to informal networks to a wide variety of commercially available services, so-called alternative health-care methods are predominant despite the tremendous financial and organizational support of scientific medicine. Reasons advanced for the unabated popularity of traditional practices revolve around the notions of personal control and individual responsibility for one's own health and well being.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. V8W 3P5, Canada


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