• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This is the first international and inter-disciplinary social science Handbook on health and medicine. Five years in the making, and building on the insights and advice of an international editorial board, the book brings together world-class figures to provide an indispensable, comprehensive resource book on social science, health and medicine. Pinpointing the focal issues of research and debate in one volume, the material is organized into three sections: social and cultural frameworks of analysis; the experience of health and illness; and health care systems and practices. Each section consists of specially commissioned chapters designed to examine the vital conceptual and methodological practice and policy issues.

The Social Causation of Health and Illness
The social causation of health and illness

Sociology as a science is concerned with the description and explanation of societal phenomena and processes as they affect human populations and individuals. To a large extent, scientific progress in this field is dependent on input from specialized subdisciplines that deal with particular areas of societal life in a systematic way. Health and illness and the societal reactions towards them define the scope of one such sub-discipline, termed sociology of health, or medical sociology (Cockerham 1992; Mechanic 1978; Suchman 1963). The focus of this chapter is restricted to the first one of the two mainstream lines of health-related sociology, the study of social factors that determine well-being and health, and precipitate ill ...

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