The social role of the physician in classical Polish medical sociology. A reconstruction of the views of Magdalena Sokołowska

Review Article, Pol J Public Health 2018;128(2): 53-56

Włodzimierz Piątkowski

Dept. of Sociology of Health, Medicine and Family, Institute of Sociology, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland
Independent Medical Sociology Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Lublin, Poland

DOI: 10.2478/pjph-2018-0009

© 2018 Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (


This article is an attempt to reconstruct the views of the creator of the Polish and co-creator of the Western sociology of medicine – Magdalena Sokołowska. The content of these contemplations applies to the social role of the physician. This paper describes the evolution of her ideas, which were inspired by classical Western literature (such as Robert Merton, Howard Becker, Anselm Strauss) and the results of the 1962’s contest for the best industrial physician diary, as well as the opinion polls of that time (CBOS – Centre for Public Opinion Research, 1972) that described the views of Poles on both the professional and moral duties of physicians. Magdalena Sokolowska’s views and opinions were also modified and shaped by her coworkers and mentors: Jan Szczepański, Adam Podgórecki and Adam Sarapata. The creator of the Polish sociology of medicine had also a vision for the prospective research on the physician profession that involved, inter alia, the necessity for increasing behavioral competences, complementing medical knowledge with elements of prevention and health promotion, as well as the need for integrating humani­ties with biomedicine.

Keywords: medical sociology, the social role of the physician, Magdalena Sokołowska’s research concept.


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