The question of recourse to self-medication arises at the
intersection of two partly antagonistic discourses: that of the
public authorities, who advocate the practice primarily for
economic reasons, and that of health professionals, who condemn it
for fear that it may pose a danger to health and dispossess the
profession of expertise. This books examines the reality of
self-medication in context and investigates the social treatment of
the notion of autonomy ever present in the discourses promoting
this practice. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in France, the author
examines the material, cognitive, symbolic and social dimensions of
the recourse to self-medication, considering the motivations and
practices of the subjects and what these reveal about their
relationship with the medical institution, while addressing the
question of open access to medicines - a subject of heated debate
between the actors concerned on themes such as competence,
knowledge and responsibility. A rigorous analysis of the strategies
adopted by individuals to manage the risks of medicines and
increase their efficacy, Self-Medication and Society will appeal to
sociologists and anthropologists with interests in health, illness,
the body and medicine.
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