P.E. Ratmanov, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor at the Department of Public Health and Healthcare
Far Eastern State Medical University, Khabarovsk (Russian Federation)
The article describes research on the application of the Anglo-American concept of professionalism to the medical history of pre-revolutionary Russia (1856‒1917). Approaches to the study of professions in the UK and the US are described, Western literature’s views are presented, in which the history of pre-revolutionary Russian medicine has been studied in line with the concept of professionalism, the experience of its application in relation to the medical history of pre-revolutionary Russia is discussed, the prospects for the use of this concept in relation to the country’s history of medicine is assessed as well. The concept of professionalism is widespread in English-language literature, dedicated to the profession of medicine. Regardless of the attitude towards it, modern scholars in their study of the original or translated English-language literature must take into account differences in theoretical approaches to the problem of professions. Most Western scholars who have studied the history of medicine in Russia have adhered to the tradition of describing Russian doctors of the second half of the 19th century and early 20th centuries in terms of the concept of professionalization. An analysis of Russian history of medicine with the use of the concept of professionalism does not give obvious advantages and leads to significant distortions (phenomena closer to the Anglo-American experience are studied in more detail). For local historians of medicine, the concept of professionalism is not relevant, since Russia developed a tradition for research of professional medical work based on the study of medical education and the scientific and social activities of doctors. Given the differences in professional bodies of doctors in the West and in Russia, perhaps there are prospects for the analysis of individual elements such as the concept of professionalization in terms of expert knowledge, autonomy (self-regulation), the activity of medical associations, commitment to public service, but not the whole paradigm in its entirety. In carrying out comparative studies of the historical aspects of the formation of the medical profession in the West and in Russia, understanding of the concept of professionalism is required.
Keywords: physicians, Russia, profession, concept of professionalism, history of healthcare, history of medicine, comparative analysis