Medical Dominance by Evan Willis, 21 of 52

I am not keeping up with the blogging challenge at all! It has been a very extreme time for my time management skills over the last couple of months. I am now on the downward stretch towards having to hand up my Thesis in November. Hence, all reading challenge posts will comprise of books that I have read, that inform my thesis discussion.

What am I writing on you ask? I am looking at Maternity Care Services for women and how they are delivered to them, what informs the development of services and who determines the shape and make up of these services. You may assume that women are key players in the development of services, of which they are the primary users? This is essentially not the case, it has been observed to have happened in progressive and innovative hotspots around our big brown land; but most women have a choice of 2 conventional options, of which they may want neither.

This book by Willis is fantastic! I really enjoyed his writing style and presentation of a very compelling argument. Bear in mind that this discussion is focussed on the medical biomedical model of care. Willis breaks down dominance (medical or professional, a term coined by American Friedson), in three separate aspects:

  1. Autonomy – the profession have control over their own work
  2. Authority – the profession have control over their own work, others work and have the authority to dictate the recognition of other professions.
  3. Sovereignty – the profession has control over their own work and are recognised outside of their own locus of work as the holders of expertise and authority. Governments will defer to these professions for their opinions and expertise. 

That is just a snapshot of what is a bigger and more complex issue. I wish that more had been written on this topic, however, their appears to only be a limited concentration of it within the realm of sociology – a close sibling of Anthopology. This baffles me as I feel that dominance of professions is a key issues towards understanding how and why professions can and cannot work together.

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