• Summary
  • Contents

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?

Lay Knowledge
Lay knowledge
Gareth H. Williams

The concept of lay knowledge within medical sociology is a recent development of the idea of lay beliefs. The study of people's beliefs about illness, health and medical care initially provided a way of understanding different forms of ‘illness behaviour’ and ‘lay referral’, particularly where ‘non-compliant’ behaviour suggested differences between the patient's perspectives and those of his or her physician. Research on these themes provided an empirical foundation for the argument that a patient's behaviour was influenced by his or her beliefs, and that these beliefs were a reasoned attempt to deal with the sometimes intensely contradictory demands ...

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