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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

versión impresa ISSN 0325-0075versión On-line ISSN 1668-3501


LEJARRAGA, Agustina. La construcción social de la enfermedad. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2004, vol.102, n.4, pp.271-276. ISSN 0325-0075.

In the nature there is not a thing like a disease, but a biological event recognisable only as a discontinuity within a continuous process. The disease can only be perceived as such by the perception of a person. Without the human eye, the event is senseless. Only the human being and the society can categorise an event as a disease. This concept is the result of a social construction and deserves here a sociological perspective. The idea of disease is built within the doctor-patient relationship, a bond in which self-assigned roles and expectations are created. Medicine is a cultural response to disease, it legitimates the condition of being ill and handicapped. Several schools consider disease as a legitimate deviation, as long as it is assumed that the patient has no responsibility for his/her own condition. On the contrary, in the case that responsibility is proved, then the disease is no longer legitimate, and may be categorised as "inmoral", as it happens with HIV infection. Another aspect to be considered is the different qualifications that disease may have, according to the social class of the subject. Physicians should be aware of the social meaning of disease, because this can help them to deal with the greatest challenge of medical practice: to consider the patient as a person, to see him/her as another subject, rather than as an object of knowledge.

Palabras clave : Disease; Social pediatrics.

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