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Culture and Identity in Family Medicine: From Counter-Culture to Brave New World

Howard F. Stein

This paper is an applied study of the biomedical discipline of Family Medicine. Based on the author’s nearly thirty- year familiarity with and study of the discipline, this paper discusses Family Medicine’s culture historic baseline and value-conflict core; explores Family Medicine in relation to abiding American cultural themes and processes (e.g., succession ladder image, marginality and mainstream aspiration, reform and accommodation); values and value disjunction; the flight into the future; the role of the “narcissism of minor differences” in boundary creation and maintenance; and more generally how broad cultural and identity processes are at work in a social movement, and later social structure, within that broader process. Vignettes are used to illustrate these Family Medicine issues and processes. Implications for the practice of applied anthropology are also discussed.

High Plains Applied Anthropologist No. 1, Vol. 20, Spring, 2000 pp 6 – 23

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