The Study of Medical Institutions: Eliot Freidson' s Legacy

Sydney Halpern, Renee R. Anspach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


During more than three decades of scholarship on American medicine, Eliot Freidson has both contributed to and advocated a distinctive variety of medical sociology: one that applies structural perspectives to medical institutions and remains detached from medicine' s own viewpoints and assumptions. This article reviews Freidson' s legacy to six substantive arenas in the study of medical institutions. It then examines the evolving status of the type of scholarship Freidson championed. Conventional wisdom holds that medical sociology is in the doldrums because applied work has supplanted discipline-grounded research. This article suggests a counterhypothesis: Institutionally oriented medical sociology is no less prevalent than in the past; rather, the perceived salience of this type of work has declined because of trends within sociology at large.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-295
Number of pages17
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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