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August 8, 1977

Power & Illness: The Political Sociology of Health and Medical Care

Author Affiliations

University of Missouri Medical Center Columbia

JAMA. 1977;238(6):519. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280060063029

Does sociology possess certain technical skills that can reliably produce useful insights into difficult problems? Calm debate and study over the years suggest that the correct answer is no. Sociology still has evolved little or no overlap with the true sciences. Sociology does seem mainly to be a form of advocacy concerned with various issues—in this book, with the promotion of social reforms. Krause is an able, sincere journalist interested in consumer advocacy and extensive reform of the medical professions. He is a prominent sociologist at Northeastern University; a social reformer, generally; and "left-critical" in politics. He prefers the perspective of modern Marxian theory.

Even though Krause seems eager to offend the traditional physician by using left-wing Marxian language and the radical journalistic style of unpleasantly bitter criticisms and accusations, he is far too sophisticated and experienced to write a trivial, angry polemic. The persistent reader will find useful analyses