An Introduction to the Sociology of Health and Illness

An Introduction to the Sociology of Health and Illness

  • Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

‘This book does exactly what it says on the tin!’ – Community Practitioner

‘Health is a preoccupation of the media and of the wider culture of advanced societies. Kevin White guides us through the many reasons for the centrality of health. The thesis of his book is that health and illness are 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 main purpose of this book is to demonstrate that disease is socially produced and distributed. Becoming sick and unhealthy is not the result of individual misfortune or an accident of nature. It is a consequence of the social, political and economic organization of society.

In developing this thesis, the author systematically introduces students to the major sociological explanations of the role and functions of medical explanations of disease. The book situates the student securely in the literature and provides a guide to the strengths and weaknesses of the major sociological approaches. It draws out the essential features of the major sociological contributions and elucidates how an appreciation of the dynamics of class, gender, ethnicity and the sociology of knowledge challenges medical power.

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