• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This is the first international and inter-disciplinary social science Handbook on health and medicine. Five years in the making, and building on the insights and advice of an international editorial board, the book brings together world-class figures to provide an indispensable, comprehensive resource book on social science, health and medicine. Pinpointing the focal issues of research and debate in one volume, the material is organized into three sections: social and cultural frameworks of analysis; the experience of health and illness; and health care systems and practices. Each section consists of specially commissioned chapters designed to examine the vital conceptual and methodological practice and policy issues.

The History of the Changing Concepts of Health and Illness: Outline of a General Model of Illness Categories
The history of the changing concepts of health and illness: Outline of a general model of illness categories
Introduction: A Typology of Health Concepts

Concepts of health and illness stand at the core of the social values of human society because they give expression to many of our fundamental assumptions about the meaning of life and death. A description of health, therefore, tends necessarily to offer a description of ‘the good life’ as a moral state of affairs. Although we attempt in the social sciences to avoid the confusion between the notions of ‘norm’ as a prescriptive standard and ‘normal’ as a description of an average state of affairs, ...

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