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Thai and American doctors on medical ethics: Religion, regulation, and moral reasoning across borders


  • Grol-Prokopczyk, Hanna


Recent scholarship argues that successful international medical collaboration depends crucially on improving cross-cultural understanding. To this end, this study analyzes recent writings on medical ethics by physicians in two countries actively participating in global medicine, Thailand and the United States. Articles (133; published 2004–2008) from JAMA, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand are analyzed to inductively build a portrait of two discursive ethical cultures. Frameworks of moral reasoning are identified across and within the two groups, with a focus on what authority (religion, law, etc.) is invoked to define and evaluate ethical problems. How might similarities and differences in ethical paradigms reflect the countries' historical “semicolonial” relationship, shed light on debates about Eastern vs. Western bioethics, and facilitate or hinder contemporary cross-national communication?

Suggested Citation

  • Grol-Prokopczyk, Hanna, 2013. "Thai and American doctors on medical ethics: Religion, regulation, and moral reasoning across borders," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 92-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:76:y:2013:i:c:p:92-100
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.10.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Benatar, S. R., 2002. "Reflections and recommendations on research ethics in developing countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1131-1141, April.
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