Our present complaint : American medicine, then and now


Our present complaint : American medicine, then and now

Charles E. Rosenberg

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007

  • : hardcover
  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index



Charles E. Rosenberg, one of the world's most influential historians of medicine, presents a fascinating analysis of the current tensions in American medicine. Situating these tensions within their historical and social contexts, Rosenberg investigates the fundamental characteristics of medicine: how we think about disease, how the medical profession thinks about itself and its moral and intellectual responsibilities, and what prospective patients-all of us-expect from medicine and the medical profession. He explores the nature and definition of disease and how ideas of disease causation reflect social values and cultural negotiations. His analyses of alternative medicine and bioethics consider the historically specific ways in which we define and seek to control what is appropriately medical. At a time when clinical care and biomedical research generate as much angst as they offer cures, this volume provides valuable insight into how the practice of medicine has evolved, where it is going, and how lessons from history can improve its prognosis.


1. Introduction: The History of Our Present Complaint 2. The Tyranny of Diagnosis: Specific Entities and Individual Experience 3. Contested Boundaries: Psychiatry, Disease, and Diagnosis 4. Banishing Risk: Or, the More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same 5. Pathologies of Progress: The Idea of Civilization as Risk 6. The New Enchantment: Genetics, Medicine, and Society 7. Alternative to What? Complementary to Whom? On the Scientific Project in Medicine 8. Holism in Twentieth-Century Medicine: Always in Opposition 9. Mechanism and Morality: On Bioethics in Context 10. Anticipated Consequences: Historians, History, and Health Policy Acknowledgments Index

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