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June 4, 1982

Medical Sociology

JAMA. 1982;247(21):2959-2962. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320460059023

The Profession and the Sociological Perspective  Increasingly since the 1950s, the nature and effectiveness of the social controls governing medicine in American society have received the attention of the medical profession itself, as well as of the lay public, the legislatures, courts, and regulatory agencies. The term social controls has two sociological meanings: the capacity of individuals or groups to regulate themselves, and the measures a community or society uses to influence, regulate, or discipline its members. This concerned interest in physicians, their status, orientation, organization, and action as professionals, their technical and moral training, their ethicality and social responsibility, and the bearing of the system of controls that govern them as professionals has complex origins.Among the phenomena and events that seem to have contributed to this development are public questioning of the expertise, authority, and power of professionals in our society; demands for greater public accountability by professionals