Sociology is a core topic for all trainee health professionals, but many struggle to get to grips with it and to see what sociology has to offer. Based on years of experience teaching sociology to health care students, Lani Russell has written a truly introductory text which explains the main sociological concepts without jargon or becoming too advanced. Using carefully chosen examples, she shows how health issues are influenced by social phenomena such as class, race or sexuality and the relevance this has for practitioners.
So what is sociology anyway? A simple definition is that it is the systematic study of human beings in society. One way to begin to understand what sociology is about is to compare it with physiology or psychology. Physiology is interested in the biological aspects of human beings. In physiology you learn about the various organs of the body and how they work. In psychology, by contrast, you learn about the workings of the human mind. Like psychologists, sociologists seek to understand individual human beings. However, unlike psychologists, our starting point for doing this is way beyond the individual. Sociologists are interested in where individuals fit within ‘big picture’ patterns in society. For example, one of the most important achievements of sociologists of health ...