A Sociology of Health offers an authoritative and up-to-date introduction to the key issues, perspectives, and debates within the field of medical sociology. The book aids readers’ understanding of how sociological approaches are crucial to understanding the impact that health and illness have on the behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and practices, of an increasingly health-aware population.
Chapter 4: Health Scares and Risk Awareness
Health Scares and Risk Awareness
- The prevalence of health scares suggests a profound shift in the way we think about the world.
- The ‘risk society’ is a very recent and specific development.
- Risk awareness has become a new moral code bound up with mistrust, withdrawal from social interaction and the formalising of informal life.
- Scares cannot be understood by their ‘scary’ characteristics alone; we also have to understand the wider social context and background.
- Alarms are created by particular actors and institutions and can flourish given the defensiveness of scientific and political authority.
Try to read a newspaper or news magazine, listen to radio, or watch television; on any day some alarm bells will be ringing. What are Americans afraid of? ...