The Making of Rehabilitation: A Political Economy of Medical Specialization, 1890-1980

The Making of Rehabilitation: A Political Economy of Medical Specialization, 1890-1980

The Making of Rehabilitation: A Political Economy of Medical Specialization, 1890-1980

The Making of Rehabilitation: A Political Economy of Medical Specialization, 1890-1980

Synopsis

Focusing on the history of one medical field--rehabilitation medicine--this book provides the first systematic analysis of the underlying forces that shape medical specialization, challenging traditional explanations of occupational specialization.

Excerpt

Eliot Freidson

The division of labor represents two of the most fundamental characteristics that mark human life off from that of other animals—the capacity to create tools that aid in the performance of specialized tasks, and the capacity to cooperate with others in the performance of complementary tasks that yield a joint product. It exists in some form in every human society, but wherever society is complex and reasonably large it is composed in large degree of formally defined, stable occupations in which workers specialize in various tasks that produce the goods and services on which human life depends. The division of labor is thus the generic basis for differentiation in human life. While it is possible to imagine a society undivided by class inequality, we cannot imagine a viable society undivided by specialization. And if we wish to imagine a society with a rich material and cultural standard of living, we could not imagine one without a fairly stable structure of differentiation by specialization.

As fundamental as is the division of labor in the human scheme of things, it has not been the focus for much thought and study. Of the classic writers, Durkheim provides us with the idea that the number of different specializations in a division of labor can be explored as a function of size and density . . .

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