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Freidson, Eliot 1923–2005

Freidson, Eliot 1923–2005

(Eliot Lazarus Freidson)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 20, 1923, in Boston, MA; died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, December 14, 2005, in San Francisco, CA. Sociologist, educator, and author. Freidson was a retired New York University sociology professor who was especially noted for his studies of the medical profession. A graduate of the University of Chicago, where he did his undergraduate work and completed a Ph.D. in 1952 after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he then worked as a research fellow for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Freidson joined the faculty at the City College of the City University of New York in 1956, then moved on to New York University in 1961. He taught sociology there and was head of the department from 1975 to 1978, retiring in 1993. While in New York, he also was active in the Eastern Sociological Society, for which he served as president, and he edited the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. After retiring, he continued to teach as a visiting professor at the University of California at San Francisco. While Freidson was interested in the social workings within various business professions, he was most fascinated by how doctors work and police themselves. For example, he found that although there were no effective ways for doctors to weed out incompetence, physicians themselves would work around this problem by refusing to refer patients to doctors they did not respect; he also complained about the negative effects of managed health-care systems. Among his publications are Patients' Views of Medical Practice (1961), Profession of Medicine: A Study of the Sociology of Applied Knowledge (1970), Medical Work in America: Essays on Health Care (1989), and Professionalism, the Third Logic (2001).



New York Times, December 26, 2005, p. A25.

San Francisco Chronicle, December 27, 2005, p. B4.

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