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The Sociology of Health and Medicine: A Critical Introduction Paperback – 1 Apr 1998

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"With an impressive grasp of developments in a number of adjacent areas, Ellen Annandale takes us through key issues in the sociology of health and medicine. What makes the book particularly impressive, however, is the sure way in which the author frames these topics in terms of wider developments in sociology and society." Gareth Williams, Deputy Director of Public Health Research and Resource Center, University of Salford "This book fills an urgent need for an up–to–date text for students of medical sociology. It is done in a masterly fashion, with an authoritative overview of the most exciting current debates. Teachers of the sociology of health and medicine will be grateful for this book. It provides them with an expert and well–organized theoretical core for the subject. Students will find it entirely clear, interesting and illuminating." Professor Mildred Blaxter, School of Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia

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In this exciting introduction to the sociology of health and medicine, Annandale examines the core issues of the discipline and reassesses them in the light of recent developments in health care and social theory. The Sociology of Health and Medicine considers the way in which recent economic and social change has generated new issues and necessitated a re–evaluation of the traditional concerns in the field of health, illness and health care. Annandale examines how theoretical and methodological developments in social theory – such as post–structuralism and revisions to Marxist, feminist and symbolic interactionist thought – has led to new thinking in a number of areas. These include the processes linking "race", gender and class to health and illness, the sociology of the health service and the division of labour within it, and the experience of health and health care. Through a discussion of both traditional and new topics in the field, this book offers a wide–ranging and up–to–date assessment of the state of the sociology of health, illness and health care. The result is an innovative text that both reflects and advances changes in the discipline.

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The sociology of health and illness has had a vexed relationship with social theory almost since its inception. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Critical analysis of present-day medecine and health care 12 July 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Highly recommendable introduction to sociology of medecine, which tries to position itself as an independent discipline and claims that medical knowledge is never disinterested. Describes the evolution from the 'bed side' medicine, with a privileged relationship between a physician and a patient, over the 'hospital medicine' which is characterized by a shift in the face-to-face relationship towards a fractioning of the patient's body in 'specialized topics'of health care, whereby the interest in the patient as a 'whole person' is replaced by studies of specific lesions and malfunctions. From then on the patient is supposed to 'endure and wait'. The 'laboratory medicine' represents the ultimate stage, where the patient becomes a material thing to be analysed. The description of the 'sick role' and 'physician role' are particularly interesting. The book also contains references to main-stream approaches in the sociology of the seventies that have had a crucial role in the sociology of health and medecine, which makes the book accessible even to those who lack a thorough background in sociology. It also provides a clear overview of the feminist theories (liberal, radical, postmodern, materialist). The book goes on with a research on economic inequality and health, with sometimes surprising conclusions! The only criticism here is that the statistical material refers to Great Britain for the most. Given GB's typical health care system, the results are not very useful for extrapolations to other European Countries or the US. The next chapter on gender inequalities and health status, with a focus on the relationship between health status and social roles, also features some surprising (read: interesting) conclusions! A further link is made from 'race', ethnicity, social class to illness and health. The last part of the book focusses on the experience of illness and health care in the 1990's and beyond. Overall, it's surely worthwhile reading as one of the few accessible works that challenges the 'establishment of the medical profession' in it's claim to be an 'objective, colourfree and fair' discipline.
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