PERSISTENT POWER? THE WEAKENING OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION'S CONTROL OVER KNOWLEDGE IN CANADA
Diepeveen, Benjamin Philip
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Canadian doctors have historically been an extremely powerful interest group. While there are many variables that account for their political influence, it is widely accepted that much of their power is due to their control over specialized knowledge. To determine whether or not physicians’ control over knowledge is changing, I examine doctors’ position relative to the state, the public and other health professionals. This research finds that, in all three relationships, physicians’ control over knowledge is weakening. Moreover, organized medicine’s response to these developments has largely been a strategy of co-optation, demonstrating that doctors are aware that these changes often cannot be openly fought. This strategy signals that the medical profession recognizes that some changes in its control over knowledge are bound to occur. This study concludes that these changes could contribute to a ‘critical juncture’ signalling the potential for significant change in the physician-state relationship.