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Disease and Social Order in America: Perceptions and Expectations

Charles E. Rosenberg
The Milbank Quarterly
Vol. 64, Supplement 1. AIDS: The Public Context of an Epidemic (1986), pp. 34-55
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Milbank Memorial Fund
DOI: 10.2307/3350040
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3350040
Page Count: 22
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Disease and Social Order in America: Perceptions and Expectations
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Abstract

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.

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