Disease in History: Frames and Framers

Medicine, an often-quoted Hippocratic teaching explains, “consists in three things—the disease, the patient, and the physician.” When I teach an introductory course in the history of medicine, I always begin with disease. There has never been a time that humankind has not suffered from sickness, and the physician’s specialized social role has developed in response to it. Even when they assume the guise of priests or shamans, doctors are by definition individuals presumed to have special knowledge or skills that allow them to treat men and women experiencing pain or unable to work and fulfill family obligations.

Author(s): Charles E. Rosenberg

Download the Article

Read on JSTOR

Volume 67, Issue S1 (pages 1–15)
Published in 1989