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Milbank Q. 1988;66 Suppl 2:10-32.

The changing character of the medical profession: a theoretical overview.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/SOM, Camden 08103.


Technological advances in medicine have greatly enhanced the ability of physicians to treat disease and disability, but, at the same time, changes in the organization and management of health care services in the United States have imposed constraints on their autonomy. How have these changes--medical advancement and professional decline--affected the theoretical concept of the medical profession? Challenging the prevailing model of professional dominance, the concepts of deprofessionalization, corporatization, and proletarianization emphasize the effects of recent social and economic developments on the changing status of the medical profession. There is evidence, however, that what the proponents of these concepts perceive as the profession's response to external forces are, in fact, the unanticipated consequences of the profession's campaign for autonomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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