Work, ideology, and science: The case of medicine

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Abstract

This article discusses the nature of work, ideology and science in Western capitalist societies.It analyzes how capitalist or bourgeois ideology reproduces capitalist dominance in the spheres of production (Section I), politics (Section II), and science and medicine (Section III). Also, this article explains how the working class responds to that capitalist dominance through a continuous process of class struggle. Sections I, II, and III show how class struggle affects bourgeois dominance in the processes of production, politics, and science and medicine, respectively. Special focus in Section III is on the analysis of (A) how bourgeois dominance appears in science and medicine; (B) how bourgeois ideology appears and is reproduced in medical knowledge; and (C) how class struggle determines the nature of scientific and medical knowledge. In this section, an alternative mode of production of scientific and medical knowledge, different from the prevalent bourgeois one, is presented and discussed. In all three sections, medicine and medical knowledge are chosen as the primary points of reference. "The does keep telling me there's nothing wrong with the place where I work. I guess they're supposed to know it all because they've had a lot of education and everything. I'm no expert like they are, but I sure as hell know there's something wrong in that mill and the other guys are saying the same thing. One thing I know for sure-that place is killing us.". Cancer patient and steelworker from the Bethlehem Steel Corporation mills, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., 1978.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-205
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Science and Medicine. Part C Medical Economics
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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