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An Introduction to the Sociology of Health & Illness
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An Introduction to the Sociology of Health & Illness

Second Edition
  • Kevin White - Australian National University, Canberra, Australia


216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This is a new edition of the best-selling textbook for students in the Sociology of Health & Illness. The First Edition was widely praised for its clarity, accessibility, and comprehensive coverage. All of these features are retained in the new edition.

New to the Second Edition  
  • Systematic updated empirical references to the material covered in the First Edition
  • More challenging elements in the theory section to facilitate comprehension and enhance study
  • Consideration of the 'new public management' philosophy in hospital and health care administration
The result is a book that academics and students in the sociology of health and illness will use as a 'first stop' to study. Free of jargon, intuitive about student needs and well versed in course requirements, the new edition will refresh old readers and delight new ones.
 
INTRODUCTION
 
Sociology, Genetics, Social Mobility and Lifestyle
 
The Sociological Perspective
 
Postmodernity and Sociology
 
Sociological Approaches to Health and Illness
Political Economy and Marxist Approaches

 
Parsonian Sociology of Health

 
Foucault's Sociology of Health

 
Feminist Approaches

 
Bringing the Approaches Together

 
 
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE
 
Making Reality Problematic: The Problem of the Medical Model of Disease
 
Medical Knowledge Mediates Social Relations
Masturbatory Insanity

 
Hysteria

 
 
The Technical Realm of Medical Practice
 
Medical Technology and Social Relations
 
The Sociology of Medical Knowledge
 
Fleck and Representations
 
Fleck's Sociology of Medical Knowledge
Syphilis

 
Anatomical Drawings

 
 
Fleck, Foucault and Kuhn
 
Applying Fleck
 
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH
 
The Relationship Between Sociology and Medicine
 
Medical Bias in the Sociology of Health
 
Challenging Medicine
 
Social Aspects of Disease - The Critique of the Medical Model
 
Key Concepts in the Sociology of Health
 
The Concept of Medicalization
Disease: Nature or Society?

 
Medicalization and Women

 
 
The Social Functions of Medical Knowledge and Practice
 
The Development of Medicalization
Case Study: Gambling

 
Case Study: Alcoholism

 
 
Developments in the Medical Profession
 
Characteristics of the Medicalization of Society
Case Study: Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia and the Medicalization of the Classroom

 
 
Assessing Medicalization
 
POSTMODERNITY, EPIDEMIOLOGY, AND NEO-LIBERALISM
 
Postmodernity
 
Liberalism and the Development of Neo-Liberalism in Health Policy
The Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

 
The Dismantling of Welfare and the Resurgence of Neo-Liberalism

 
 
Epidemiology: The Early Foundations
 
Limitations of the Risk Factor and Lifestyle Explanations
 
Developing a Sociological Model of Disease: Disease Classified by Social Cause
 
Epidemiology and Statistics
 
Psycho-social Perspectives on Social Inequalities in Health
 
Stress
 
Social Support
 
The Social Drift Hypothesis
 
Talking About the Diseased Self
 
Community, Social Capital and Inequality
Social Capital

 
Social Capital or Income Inequality?

 
 
MATERIALIST APPROACHES TO THE SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH
 
What Causes Disease: The Materialist Explanation
Occupation

 
Diet

 
Housing

 
 
Case Study: Transformations in the Social Structure of Eastern Europe
 
Class as Occupational Position
 
Untangling Class and Socio-economic Status
 
Structural Position as Socio-economic Status
 
The Classical Marxist Approach
 
The Political and Economic Functions of Medicine
 
The Medical Profession in a Marxist Analysis
 
Modifications of Classical Marxism and Changes in Capitalism
 
Changes in Class Theory and the Sociology of Health
 
Transformations of the Medical Profession: The Australian Example
Technological Change

 
Commodification

 
Corporate Medicine

 
 
PARSONS, AMERICAN SOCIOLOGY OF MEDICINE AND THE SICK ROLE
Diagnostic Variations

 
Prescribing Activities

 
 
Parsons: People Act Rather Than Behave
 
The Sick Role
 
In Defence of the Sick Role
 
Sickness and American Values
 
The End of the Golden Age of Doctoring
 
FOUCAULT AND THE SOCIOLOGY OF MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE
 
Foucault: The Most General Picture
 
Foucault's Sociology of Health
 
Disciplines of Knowledge, Disciplines of Power: Power/Knowledge
 
Foucault's History of Medicine
 
The Body
 
Historical and Metaphorical Representations of the Body
 
Foucault's Body
The Anatomico-Metaphysical Register of the Body

 
Technico-Political Register of the Body

 
 
HEALTH, GENDER AND FEMINISM
 
Why are There More Women Patients?
 
Medicalization
 
Are Women More Depressed than Men?
 
Different Forms of Feminism
Liberal Feminism

 
Radical Feminism

 
Marxist Feminism

 
 
Patriarchal Science and Medicine
 
Feminism and the Critique of Technology
Case Study: Foucault and Feminism and the Body

 
 
Bringing Out the Foucauldian-Feminist Position: Screening
 
Men, Gender and Health
 
RACE, ETHNICITY AND HEALTH
 
Race
 
Ethnicity
 
Aboriginality, 'Race' and Disease
 
Racist Bias in Drug Trials
 
Problems with the Appropriation of Ethnicity in Medical Explanations
 
The Genetic Explanation
 
The Appeal of the Genetic Explanation
 
The Sociological Critique of Genetics
 
CONCLUSION

'Kevin White guides us through the many reasons for the centrality of health showing clearly that health and illness are the products not just of our biology but of the society into which we are born. He expertly draws on the works of Parsons, Marx, Foucault and feminist writers to provide an authoritative analysis of the social nature of health' - Ray Fitzpatrick, University of Oxford

'The overall arguments being made are thoroughly sociological, and the chapters provide great overviews and insights that even those in the field will find useful. The chapters in the text are very stimulating, and White calls on a variety of perspectives to flesh out the arguments he makes. I would certainly recommend the text for introductory courses. The invigorating style should be attractive to students' - eSocHealth


Very good book with accessible text.

Mrs Marcia Louise Dewar
health and social science, Bradford College
October 17, 2015

This is an excellent book which I use during semester 1 of a 2 semester module called "The Sociology of Health and Illness." During semester 1, I focus mainly on the theories of the Sociology of Health and illness. I have used this book for many years because it is so well written, and it is easy for the students to understand.

Dr Julianne Law
School of Social Sciences, Bangor University
August 28, 2013

Quite a comprehensive book that my students stated ‘was difficult to work through’. However, they felt it was valuable to their learning. Covers all major theorists and applies these theories to the subject of ill health in society. Good comparative literature throughout.

Mrs Sunray Heap
General Education , Cardiff and Vale College
April 27, 2012

would have liked inclusion of salutogenesis and health promotion. this would be ideal as a lecturer in both nursing in adult and mental health as well as social work.
nevertheless, it is an essential text for those involved in the health and social care arenas as well as those working in the private, voluntary and charitable sectors

Mrs Karen Wild
Nursing , Keele University
October 28, 2011

A very easy read - makes sense of matters. A good book for health students

Mrs Karyn Richardson
Dental, University of Teesside
August 7, 2011

An excellent introductory text to help the students to begin to critically analyse different perspectives on health.

Mrs Debbie Chittenden
Faculty of Wellbeing & Social Sciences, University of Bolton
June 23, 2011

A sound intoductory text which covers the main perspctives related to health and illness. The style is accessible and the volume is of a manageable size.

Dr RICHARD FISHER
HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE, Bournemouth University
October 20, 2010

Good as an introduction outlining the background of issues and salient theories related to the particular topics covered. Written in an accessible and clear style. Good as a revision aid.

Dr Linda Perkins-Porras
Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of London
September 15, 2010

Does not meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Mrs Susan Skipper
Social Science, East Lancashire Institute of HE at Blackburn
July 12, 2010

New to the Second Edition:

• Systematically updated empirical references to the material covered in the first Edition.

• A revision of the more challenging elements in the theory section.

• A consideration of the 'new public management' philosophy in hospital and health care administration.

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One PDF


Kevin White

Kevin White is Reader in Sociology at the Australian National University, Canberra. He has held appointments at Flinders University, Wollongong University and Victoria University, Wellington New Zealand. He has published widely in the sociology of health and in the social history of medicine. At ANU he lectures the large introductory class, Introduction to Social Psychology, The Sociology of Health and Illness, Classical Social theory and Qualitative Methods. More About Author

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