Disease and Social Order in America: Perceptions and Expectations

Views of disease-and especially of epidemics-among laymen and physicians alike, changed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries between extremes of reductionism and relativism. Both society and the medical profession accommodated to reciprocal changes in roles and authority. With each revision, the structure of choices for individuals and society changed. The AIDS epidemic illustrates both our continuing dependence on medicine and the way in which disease necessarily reflects and lays bare every aspect of the culture in which it occurs.

Author(s): Charles E. Rosenberg

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Volume 64, Issue S1 (pages 34–55)