Professional Organisation and the Development of Medical Knowledge: Two Interpretations of Homoeopathy

  • Glynis Rankin
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series


That the medical profession in the period before the passing of the 1858 Medical Act was constantly riven by disputes amongst its practitioners was as evident to the laymen of the day as it is to the medical historian. Part of the explanation of this rapidly changing factionalism must be sought in an understanding of the medical politics of the period. However, the intensity of the disputes over matters of theory or practice seemingly unrelated to the political concerns of the profession needs further explanation. The purpose of this chapter is to suggest the lines which such an explanation might follow, by looking at the internal disputes of a small group of medical practitioners, the homoeopaths, who were themselves the subjects of hostility from other members of the professsion. In particular, consideration is given to the influence of lay support of homoeopathy on the disputes over issues of medical theory and practice that took place amongst homoeopathic practitioners. This necessarily precludes any attempt to analyse the development of the same knowledge as a consequence of the relationship between the homoeopaths and the orthodox profession — a task which also needs to be undertaken.


Royal College Social Distance Political Ideology Social Interest Medicinal Substance 
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Copyright information

© Roger Cooter 1988

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  • Glynis Rankin

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