Autonomy and work in medicine

José M. Ribeiro Lilia B. Scharaiber About the authors

We discuss autonomy in medical work as resulting from two basic moments: as social work consuming and producing goods and services, reproducing the dominant mode of production and its ethical foundations; and as a service in which autonomy, limited as social work, expresses some attributes acquired by medical work (technical independence and self-regulation) as a result of the monopoly in the use of science to deal with individually perceived health-related needs. These moments are expressed in the doctor-patient relationship, which makes uncertainties surrounding that relationship more evident. From this understanding about medical work and its autonomous condition, we discuss some theoretical concepts related to the study of labor and/or services in contemporary society and which provide is with an epistemological basis for more adequate approaches to scientific research concerning that object.

Medical Work; Autonomy; Technical Independence


Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Rua Leopoldo Bulhões, 1480 , 21041-210 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel.:+55 21 2598-2511, Fax: +55 21 2598-2737 / +55 21 2598-2514 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: cadernos@ensp.fiocruz.br