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Discuss how the conditions and circumstances under which knowledge changes affect society

Uploaded by hollyn on Jan 05, 2002

When discussing ‘knowledge’ we must explore what we mean by ‘knowledge’. Does everybody within society accept the same information as ‘knowledge’? I will investigate further using the example of medical knowledge. Knowledge is not absolute. As knowledge and knowing is a human faculty, by the very nature of human beings and a society that has a choice in what and who to believe, it cannot be an objective set of ‘truths’. The moment a ‘fact’ or theory is communicated it is in some way at the mercy of the medium which/who is communicating it and the recipient. We must also discuss not just ‘what we know’ but ‘how we know’. Using the example of religious knowledge I will explore the ways that constitute knowledge gathering and acceptance of knowledge.

I will be discussing what can cause changes to and further enhance ‘knowledge’ held.

Medical knowledge is an area which appears to be constantly developing, new ideas are regularly offered to the public consciousness to be either accepted or disregarded and whichever judgement is chosen makes a statement about where society places its trust, how ready we are to accept change, how radical we will allow any changes to be and whose theories and evidence mass society is willing to accept. An example of this is Alternative Medicine, although it is more accepted now than in previous years (e.g. aromatherapy massage is now actively promoted by mainstream health professionals as a complimentary therapy during pregnancy and treatment of bad backs) it is still generally seen as a compliment to Orthodox Medicine and not valid as treatments in their own rights.

The ways in which medical knowledge has developed and how these processes of development have knock-on effects throughout society e.g. the setting up of the Royal Society in 1662, emphasised the ‘expert knowledge’ bias over common sense knowledge. ‘Expert knowledge’ was historically endorsed and distributed by middle and upper class male establishments (e.g. the Royal Society was founded by Charles II and allowed ‘gentlemen’ members only and women were only allowed to qualify in Medicine in 1876 however they were only actually granted access to quality medical training after the Second World War). This helped perpetuate an air of superiority, increased intelligence and authority to this group in society, their medical knowledge trusted and officially endorsed over traditionally female ‘common sense’ knowledge.

Structures of medical knowledge enhancement e.g. the methods of investigation into Sudden...

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Uploaded by:   hollyn

Date:   01/05/2002

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   9 pages (2,023 words)

Views:   1206

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