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

Robert A. Aronowitz
The Milbank Quarterly
Vol. 69, No. 1 (1991), pp. 79-112
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Milbank Memorial Fund
DOI: 10.2307/3350122
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3350122
Page Count: 34
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Lyme Disease: The Social Construction of a New Disease and Its Social Consequences
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Abstract

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.

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