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Konstitueringen av ett vetenskapligt objekt: Exemplet - det manliga klimakteriet
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Constitution of a Scientific Object : The case of the male menopause (English)
Abstract [en]

How are new scientific concepts of illnesses and disorder formed? The last fifty years have seen a dramatic increase in new diagnoses incorporated into medical manuals. The concept of the male menopause, or the andropause diagnosis, is suitable for studying how medical knowledge is produced, since it has alternated between being and not being part of the acknowledged medical knowledge since the beginning of the 19th century, when it was originally launched. After being rather unnoticed during the 20th century, the concept of the male menopause had a renaissance in the 1990s’. The andropause then became a specific research area, articles about the male menopause were widely published in medical journals, specific therapies were developed, and andropause clinics opened around the world.

The thesis explores what combination of circumstances lay behind the establishment of the andropause as a scientific object in the 1990s’. The purpose was to find out what the institutionalization of the (concept of the) andropause shows about the production of science, specifically  medical knowledge.

Methodologically, the study can be described as an analysis of ideas, where the ideas contained in the concept of a male menopause are in focus. Accordingly, the research materials were scientific literature, media, and other documents where the idea of a male menopause was expressed. The analysis was structured in four divisions.

First, the andropause theory was studied to find any obvious scientific explanations, such as new knowledge or discoveries. “Pure science” could not explain the breakthrough of the andropause diagnosis, since the andropause theory is laden with uncertainties according to the scientific principles of evaluation that the medical science itself supports.

Second, the social organization of the medical knowledge production was inquired with focus on the medical profession, and the andropause theory was found to offer new professional arenas.

Third, factors outside profession and science were found, the extra scientific dimensions, primarily cultural conditions and social structures. The emergence of feminist theory was found to change the perception of men in the culture, where the male norm no longer is self-evident. Fourth, in the social structure, pharmaceutical companies were found to engage strongly in the andropause concept.

Together these factors constituted the andopause as a scientific object. The thesis demonstrates: the advantage of a multi perspective analysis: the complexity of the development of concepts of disease: the weakness of the epistemology of evidence-based medicine: and the social and cultural foundation of science.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet , 2010. , 347 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 63
Keyword [en]
andropause, sociology of science, testosterone, profession of medicine, big pharma, research policy, feminism, male gender
Keyword [sv]
andropaus, vetenskapssociologi, testosteron, medicinsk profession, läkemedelsindustri, feminism, forskningspolitik, andrologi, manligt genus
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33961ISBN: 978-91-7459-025-8OAI: diva2:318919
Public defence
2010-06-11, Humanisthuset, Hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-05-14 Created: 2010-05-11 Last updated: 2010-05-14Bibliographically approved

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