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Läkarens Ethos: Studier i den svenska läkarkårens identiteter, intressen och ideal 1890-1960
Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Doctors, academically educated and authorized, assert that there is more to being a real doctor than having fulfilled the formal criteria. It has been said that there is a particular doctor's ethos, which is based not only on thorough medical education but also on traditional know-how, internalized ethics and good character. This paper contains several studies of the efforts of Swedish physicians to define themselves as doctors, individually and collectively, during the period 1890-1960 and to identify the ethos of their profession. The empirical material consists mainly of texts written by doctors for doctors on different social and political questions pertaining to the profession's interests. Studying the identities, interests and ideals that have been expressed by Swedish doctors in society and on the professional and individual level made it possible to distinguish and describe different aspects of their particular ethos.

The starting point for these studies was the discussions during the inter-war period – held above all in Germany but also in Sweden – about the crisis of medicine and of the medical profession (chapter 1). Developments in legislation concerning the authorization of doctors show the ambiguity of the Swedish doctor's legal identity (chapter 2). The Swedish medical profession's efforts to hold on to the concept of internalized ethics meant that formal ethical rules were not accepted until 1951 (chapter 3). A study of medical obituaries revealed that the ideal doctor was seen as a man and a good colleague with his ethics rooted in antiquity (chapter 4). The heterogeneous medical profession has not been able to reach a consensus as to a common identity or common interests and ideals. The efforts of leading men amongst Swedish doctors gain charismatic, traditional and legal legitimacy for the profession have been opposed. After 1960, however, doctor's legitimacy in the scientific field has gained ground (chapter 5). Debate concerning the ethos of the doctors served as a strategy to unite the profession and to draw boundaries against those considered to be unqualified actors in the field of the healing arts. This, in itself, is part of this ethos.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2000. , 400 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 216
Keyword [en]
Doctor, medical profession, Sweden, ethos, identities, ideals, legitimacy, quackery, 1890-1960
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7905ISBN: 91-7219-830-3OAI: diva2:22817
Public defence
2000-09-28, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2006-12-11 Created: 2006-12-11 Last updated: 2014-09-12Bibliographically approved

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Eklöf, Motzi
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Department of Department of Health and SocietyFaculty of Arts and Sciences

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