One of the central projects of medical sociology involves persistently posing the questions: what counts as objective medical knowledge, who is involved in determining said objective medical knowledge (ideas and practices), and on what basis are medical claims legitimately made (and practiced)? During the last portion of our quarter in particular, we’ve explored the relationship between various understandings of medical expertise and its relationship to lay (non-formal) expertise, trust, authority, and decision making at both the micro and macro scales.
From your perspective, is there a fundamental tension between the exercise of medical expertise and democratic deliberation and decision making? If so, why? If not, why not? In answering this question, please specify what you understand expertise to be.
Please discuss a minimum of two distinct examples that speak to your answer. Any relevant course material is fair game to use.
Please note: It is not obligatory to provide a hard ‘yes’ or hard ‘no’ answer here – one or example may suggest a ‘yes’ answer while another may suggest ‘no.’ Mixing and matching is just fine so long as the reasoning guiding the assessments are provided.
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