Self-Medication and Society: Mirages of Autonomy

1st Edition

Sylvie Fainzang

Published November 3, 2016
Reference - 136 Pages
ISBN 9781138213944 - CAT# Y290798
Series: Routledge Studies in the Sociology of Health and Illness


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The question of recourse to self-medication arises at the intersection of two partly antagonistic discourses: that of the public authorities, who advocate the practice primarily for economic reasons, and that of health professionals, who condemn it for fear that it may pose a danger to health and dispossess the profession of expertise. This books examines the reality of self-medication in context and investigates the social treatment of the notion of autonomy ever present in the discourses promoting this practice.

Drawing on fieldwork conducted in France, the author examines the material, cognitive, symbolic and social dimensions of the recourse to self-medication, considering the motivations and practices of the subjects and what these reveal about their relationship with the medical institution, while addressing the question of open access to medicines – a subject of heated debate between the actors concerned on themes such as competence, knowledge and responsibility.

A rigorous analysis of the strategies adopted by individuals to manage the risks of medicines and increase their efficacy, Self-Medication and Society will appeal to sociologists and anthropologists with interests in health, illness, the body and medicine.

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