Professional Expectation Management: The Doctor as a Social Figure
In this paper, I deal with the application and further development of the systems theory’s insight into the sociology of professions, particularly the profession of medical doctors. I analyse doctoral professionalism from the perspective of a theory of society. The genesis and change of the social figure of the doctor are examined in the light of the changing societal expectations addressed to it. I show that the emergence and the continuing development of the doctor’s profession are based not only on supposedly hard facts, such as expertise, the ability to cure ill people, a certain social status and so on, but equally on the professional image’s social flexibility to adapt to and simultaneously shape an always changing society. Thereby, my paper contributes to explain the necessary breeding ground of a multitude of highly specific medical practices, and more generally, the mere existence and evolution of modern medicine.
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