Giovanna Vicarelli

For a comparative historical analysis of the medical profession

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The debate within the sociology of professions reflects the widely felt need in the field of sociology, to integrate the often conflicting analytical models that developed during the twentieth century. In this research, there is a clear need to overcome the individual-frame dichotomy in order to understand not only the microfoundations of social structures, but also the change in them over time. As such, studying the medical profession seems to be a particularly interesting field of research. In their job, doctors go through and mirror the clinical context of their relationship with/ interdependence on their patients (micro), the communitarian and organizational contexts (meso) to which they belong, and the healthcare and social systems (macro) which they inhabit. However, some recent contributions regarding the debate on professions could once again lock on to the codification and typification of different models of profession that historical and sociological research has always put forward rather than on those conceptual devices that are capable of reading the mechanisms of what they are and what they will become. In this situation, drawing from Elias' work would be recommendable not only for further analytical categories but also for an epistemic choice that is able to guide the study toward those necessarily interactive dynamics that are at the base of the genesis and transformation of a profession which continues to be the hub of the society.


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