PMID: 7089599Jan 1, 1982Paper

Comparative studies of health care systems

Social Science & Medicine
R P Lee


This paper reveals the dynamics of hierarchical medical pluralism through a comparative analysis of the health care systems in three Chinese societies (the China mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong). It is argued that the hierarchical relationships among medical traditions within a national society should be studied in terms of structural superiority (power, prestige and wealth) and functional strength (distribution and utilization) and should be understood in the context of modernization. The world-wide movement of modernization through science has made scientific biomedicine become structurally superior to other medical traditions in virtually every contemporary society but its functional strength varies with the society's political-organizational and economic development. The national will to modernize through science has also resulted in many alternative traditions being increasingly absorbed into the scientific biomedical sector. The various efforts to revive alternative remedies may turn out to facilitate the process of both technical and organizational absorption by scientific biomedicine.


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Related Concepts

Health Care Systems
Political Systems
Sociology, Medical

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