The collection features issues such as control and compliance, professional power and economic constraint, cultural divides, 'configured users' and ingenuity. The introductory essay relates the collection to history and sociology of innovation and technology, asking 'what is distinctive about medicine and health?' Explorations of recent cases, along with deeper probing of the past century, call into question how the past relates to the future. Health policy makers and analysts, practitioners, users and historians will find the editor's claims for the uses of history provocative.
With its emphasis on clarity of writing, its mix of empirical details and analysis, and its rich bibliography, this volume offers rewards to academic and health service readers alike.