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How do we understand health in relation to society? What role does culture play in shaping our experiences of, and orientation to, health and illness? How do we understand medicine and medical treatment within a sociological framework?

Sally MacintyreAnne Ellaway

While there is a classic heritage of sociology that considers the interrelationships between place and health, place has, perhaps understandably, received more sustained attention within disciplines such as geography. There is no single definition within medical geography, but geographers have tended to define space as being a natural and physical construct relating to geometric location, and places as being socio-cultural locations in space. According to Gesler, ‘place is studied with an eye to its meanings for people; space is analysed in terms of its quantifiable attributes and patterns’ or, in other words, place is ‘a space filled with people acting out their lives’ (quoted in Kearns and Joseph, 1993: 712). More ...

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