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Unformatted text preview: Essay Focus www.thelancet.com Vol 369 February 24, 2007 697 Medicalisation in the 21st century: Introduction Jonathan M Metzl, Rebecca M Herzig What is medicalisation? What are its causes and eff ects? Who benefi ts from medicalisation, and who is harmed? What, if anything, should be done about it? Answers to these questions would have seemed quite obvious in the 1970s, when the term entered academic and medical publications: medicalisation, the expansion of medical authority into the domains of everyday existence, was promoted by doctors and was therefore a force to be rejected in the name of specifi c kinds of liberation. Ivan Illichs 1975 book, Limits to medicine: medical nemesis , 1 was the most in uential early example of this usage of the term medicalisation. Illich, a philosopher, argued that the medical establishment posed a threat to health through the production of clinical, social, and cultural iatrogenesis. 1 For Illich, Western medicines notion of issues of healing, ageing, and dying as medical illnesses eff ectively medicalised human life, rendering individuals and societies less able to deal with these natural processes....
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This note was uploaded on 10/10/2010 for the course ENG 000121 taught by Professor Mcgrand during the Spring '10 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).
- Spring '10