Lyme Disease: The Social Construction of a New Disease and Its Social Consequences

American medical researchers who investigated Lyme disease in the 1970s conceived of the disorder as a categorically new entity. Other interpretations emphasizing the continuities between Lyme disease and its epidemiological antecedents, nevertheless, were possible. Clinicians, patients, and advocacy groups continue to contest the character, significance, and appropriate treatment of Lyme disease. Highly publicized discussions among the interested parties reflect American society’s ongoing concern with new legitimating diagnoses, personal responsibility for acute and chronic disease, and the authority of science.

Author(s): Robert A. Aronowitz

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Volume 69, Issue 1 (pages 79–112)
Published in 1991