Path Dependency as a Method for Historical Sociology of Medicine: A Historical Paradigm for Medical Knowledge

Fateme Rafiei Atani, Mohsen Naseri Rad, Janet Mikaeilian, Ehsan Kheirkhahzade



Historical research has always tried to deal with those past actions of human that have a social sense, and the phenomena related to historical sociology of medicine can be explained appropriately by the method of path dependency. This article is mainly aimed at developing the path dependency analysis as an effective approach in the study of historical sociology of medicine. In this study, in order to study the full details of medical cases, the findings of the conceptual grounds have been compared with the supporting documentation. The results indicate that in the framework of path dependency, two major sequences may be studied. The first type is called the path dependency analysis of self-strengthening sequence. These sequences are first shaped and then reproduce an institutional model of medicine. The second type of the path dependency of analysis is called reaction sequence. In path dependency, the researcher pays a special attention to the final link of the chain, which is regarded as the result. Path dependency studies emphasize the deviating cases of medicine too. Historical orientation in all aspects of sociology is improving, but no unique orientation is necessarily observed in any of the cases. Path dependency analysis is not inherently good or bad. Rather, it is a potential method in the historical sociology of medicine, and it can be regarded as a historical paradigm for medical knowledge.


analytical approach; historical sociology; medical history; medical institution; path dependency

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