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Downing, Raymond
Biohealth : beyond medicalization, imposing health / Raymond Downing ; foreword by William Ray Arney
Eugene, Or. : Pickwick Publications, c2011
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  R729.5.G6 D69 2011    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Group medical practice -- Sociological aspects
Health behavior -- Sociological aspects
Physician and patient
Medicine -- Sociological aspects
Public health -- Sociological aspects
Family medicine -- History -- 20th century
Physical Description xvii, 172 p. ; 23 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. 163-170) and index
Contents Preface: Hospitals : the corruption of hospitality -- Biohealth : introduction -- pt. 1. The history of biohealth. Biomedicine : 1900 to World War II -- Medicalization : World War II to 1980 -- Biohealth : 1980 to present -- pt. 2. The elements of biohealth. Systems -- Risk -- Commodities -- Responsibility -- Bioethics -- Life -- pt. 3. Biohealth in action. Family medicine -- AIDS in Africa -- Conclusion
Summary The development of modern medicine is on a very steep trajectory upward--a rise that began only about a hundred years ago. This rise is certainly quantitative, but it is accompanied by qualitative changes in the way we understand and deliver healthcare. While the common response is to celebrate these developments, this book suggests that perhaps we should also be wary, especially of the qualitative changes. Since World War II, these medical developments have entered more and more areas of our lives. It is precisely this process of medicalization that should be critically examined. Since 1980 we have medicalized life itself. Drawing from medical sociology, the book examines four characteristics of contemporary Western health care: health as a system, risk as a means of understanding health, health as a commodity, and individual responsibility for health. Critical examination of these four tendencies in contemporary health care forms the core of the argument of this important book about the essence of biohealth and medical practice. If Downing is right, and he certainly is, then medicine has been hijacked by a well-intentioned but ultimately perverse crusade for biohealth. In the name of 'health promotion and disease prevention,' physicians are made to overscreen, overmedicate, and generally harass their patients, ultimately worrying them sick rather than making them well

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