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?
Medical sociology deals with corporeal concerns and, as such, the concept of embodiment has particular salience. Illness, disease, pain and suffering as well as health, comprising the embodied pleasures of ‘vibrant physicality’ (Monaghan, 2001), are inseparable from our ‘lived bodies’ as the site of meaning, experience and expression. While a philosophical concern with embodiment, as a challenge to Western dualism, can be traced to the rise of phenomenology in the twentieth century, particularly via Merleau-Ponty's (1962/1945) work, in recent years sociologists have further elaborated on this concept and deepened the realm of ‘body ...