The French and American medical professions share similar historical bases for strong political and economic market positions. As professions, the attributes of common education, ethics, and mission tend to keep physicians together in their political organization. But the medical professions in both France and the United States are also subject to intraprofessional forces of division, such as the conflicts which often oppose generalists to specialists. Although organized medicine in France and the United States shares these commonalities, there is a very important difference between the two countries. The French profession tends toward organizational particularism, both ideologically and nonideologically, which serves to splinter it in ways inimical to the interests of the medical profession. By contrast, the American medical profession tends to organize universallythat is, its organizational base is much more often one of unity and accommodation toward the divergent interests of physicians. Thus, organized medicine in the United States has more easily fought off political and economic pressures coming from government and the private sectorbut by no means with total success. On the other hand, highly fragmented organized medicine in France has experienced an almost linear decline in the face of pressures coming from a determined and strong state.
Skip Nav Destination
David Wilsford; The Cohesion and Fragmentation of Organized Medicine in France and the United States. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 June 1987; 12 (3): 481–503. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-12-3-481
Download citation file: