Sociology Index

Sociology of Health and Medicine

Books on Sociology of Health, Medical Tourism, Sociology of Health and Medicine Abstracts

Health and Social Behavior and the Sociological Concepts of Health. The study of medicine and health policy is a central concern of sociology.

Methods to the understanding of health and medicine in their social context of health, illness, and health care. Sociological approaches to health and health care have a long history. Subjective experience of health and illness; political, economic, and environmental circumstances that threaten health; and Societal forces that impact on the medical care system and on people's responses to illness.

Many of the current preoccupations within the field of study of what for many years has been known as 'medical sociology', but now which has increasingly been redesignated as 'the sociology of health and illness', can be traced back to the founding figures of the discipline of sociology in the 19th Century.

These concerns relate on the one hand to the extent to which social and economic structures determine people's life chances and possibilities, including their possibilities of health. On the other hand they relate to the extent to which people through individual or collective actions may have some control over their lives, including in relation to their health. There continues to be a debate within medical sociology about the extent to which structures determine health, compared to the degree to which people have the capacity to control (to use their agency over) their health.

Currently there is considerable research in medical sociology on the precise effects of a range of inequalities - economic, class, gender, age and ethnicity for example - on specific patterns of illhealth and disease. Further there is complementary research on the degree to which the remedy to the differential distribution of health and illness should be addressed mainly at a structural level (particularly by lessening economic inequalities in populations), or at an individual level - through an individual's own lifestyle decisions and actions. However the basic thrust of recent sociological findings is that whilst lifestyle changes can be made at an individual level, they generally have a far smaller effect on the health status of populations compared to more structural changes.

The study of medicine and health policy is a central concern of sociology. This is evidenced by the very active medical sociology sections within national sociological associations and the abundance of literature in the field. Research in social and cultural factors on health and upon comparative medical sociology and health policy - ESA Research Networks - Research Network 'Medical Sociology and Health Policy'

ASA - The Medical Sociology Section, one of the ASA's largest sections, brings together social and behavioral scientists from a variety of backgrounds who share an interest in the social contexts of health, illness, and health care. Central topics include the subjective experience of health and illness; political, economic, and environmental circumstances that threaten health; and societal forces that impact on the medical care system and on people's responses to illness. Drawing from many perspectives, the field of medical sociology is concerned with basic sociological research and its implications for public policy and practice.

The BSA Medical Sociology Group promotes scholarship and communication in the field of the sociology of health and illness in the United Kingdom. The group is one of the largest and most active study groups of the BSA.

Research Committee on Sociology of Health RC15
Established in 1959
Research into the sociology of health and illness is the primary objective of RC 15. It supports individual scholars, institutions, and associations that are concerned with such research. It promotes information exchange and scientific meetings at regional, national, and international levels. It encourages the generation of sociological knowledge that enables health professional administrators, officials, and planners to improve the delivery of health services in the domains of prevention, management, cure, and rehabilitation. It also stimulates the thinking of health scholars in search of the most vital concepts and analytical frameworks for understanding health and illness in society.

MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
Our aim is to promote human health via the study of social and environmental influences on health.
Our more specific objectives include: studying how people's social positions, and their social and physical environments, influence their physical and mental health and capacity to lead healthy lives, designing and evaluating interventions aiming to improve public health and reduce social inequalities in health, and influencing policy and practice by communicating the results and implications of research to a wide range of audiences.

Kearl's Guide to Health Statistics and the Medical Establishment. In 1993, at the time of President Clinton's health care reform proposal, the nation's medical system made up one-seventh of the economy and employed 11 million people.

 

Sociology of Health and Medicine Abstracts in brief

Socioeconomic health inequalities among a nationally representative sample of Danish adolescents: the role of different types of social relations - P Due1, J Lynch, B Holstein, J Modvig
Study objective: To investigate the role of different types of social relations in adolescent health inequalities.
Design: Cross sectional study. Measures included family social class, indices of social relations to parents, friends, teachers, and school.
Conclusions: The school is one of the first important social institutions directly experienced by children and socioeconomic differences in how adolescents and their parents relate to the school may be part of the cascade of early life influences that can lead to later social and health disadvantage.

Developing, Integrating and Perpetuating New Ways of Applying Sociology To Health, Medicine, Policy and Everyday Life - Clair, Jeffrey., Hinote, Brian., Robinson, Caroline. and Wasserman, Jason.
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association,
Abstract: Data for this paper involve a content analysis of a ten-year period (1993-2002) of JHSB. The content of the articles were examined by substantive area and four foci: (1) for explicit policy recommendations by the authors; (2) for interdisciplinary approaches or focus, which would indicate a commitment toward the proliferation of sociology; (3) for explicit statements of sociology as an applied science, and (4) for indications of directional shifts within the practice of the discipline.

Contemporary legends, rumours and collective behaviour: some neglected resources for medical sociology? - Dingwall, Robert
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Publication Name: Sociology of Health & Illness. Subject: Sociology and social work ISSN: 0141-9889
Abstract: The "Missing Kidney" contemporary legend describes a person who visited a nightclub, vanished for a weekend, then reappeared with a kidney having been surgically removed.

Innovative Health Technologies and the Social: Redefining Health, Medicine and the Body
Andrew Webster
Current Sociology, Vol. 50, No. 3, 443-457 (2002)
This paper explores the growth and social implications of what are regarded as highly innovative technologies in health. Conventional medical sociology and the sociology of health have had a very uneven engagement with technology, apart from sustained feminist critique of reproductive technologies.

Medicine must change to serve an ageing society
Eradicate age discrimination and increase resources

Alison Tonks, assistant editor - BMJ 1999 December 4; 319(7223): 1450–1451.
Doctors and those responsible for commissioning and shaping health services have failed to acknowledge the rapid ageing of most societies.

Theorising Indigenous health: a political economy of health and substance misuse.
Health Sociology Review, Saggers, S. and Gray, D. (2002). 10, (2), pp. 21-32. [RJ380]
Abstract: For more than two decades we have been engaged in a program of research which examines the health of Indigenous people. In this paper we examine Indigenous drinking and its consequences, outline a political economy approach to drinking, and discuss how this has informed our work.

The Balance Between Group and Individual Rights
Sociology 318 - Northern Arizona University - Anne Diedrich
We live in a world of billions of people. Everyday, everything we do affects others. This is especially true with health behaviors. When someone chooses to smoke their smoke then affects the people around them as they inhale it. The health choices that a pregnant woman makes always affect the health of her baby.

Inequalities in women's health
The research has examined the factors influencing women's health, highlighting the extent to which paid employment for women is a source of health benefit or role strain. Women's health is shown to be influenced by their marital and parental roles, their participation in paid employment, and material circumstances, such as their class and housing tenure. This work has compared women's health in Britain, Finland, Sweden and Norway, contrasting the different levels of employment participation of women in each society.

Governing the health of the hybrid self: Integrative medicine, neoliberalism, and the shifting biopolitics of subjectivity - Fries, Christopher J - Article from Health Sociology Review Article - December 1, 2008
Abstract: This paper employs a Foucauldian perspective on the shifting spacialisation of medical knowledge to explore the manner in which integrative medicine is discursively represented by its biomedical architects. It is argued that integrative medicine represents an expansion of medical rationality into all domains of human life: biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual.

The Rhetoric of Health Technology: The Microprocessor Patient Card.
Author(s): Godin, B.. Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to integrate rhetorical studies into the sociology of technology by showing how the use of discourse to enroll actors in a health technology.

Sociomedical Perspectives on Patient Care
Jeffrey Michael Clair and Richard M. Allman; eds.: Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky; 1993. $36.00. Review: Odin W. Anderson - annals.org
The physician-patient relationship has been an inherent problem throughout the history of medicine and has never been fully resolved. Currently, the relationship is made even more problematic by the proliferation of specialties, the various medical service organizations, and the rising costs driven by technology.

The sociology of health promotion: critical analyses of consumption, lifestyle and risk.
Bunton, R., Nettleton, S., Burrows, R.
Abstract: Health promotion as a topic worthy of study in itself has so far mainly escaped the predations of sociologists: their services have been confined to uses within health promotion (lifestyle surveys etc.).

In pursuit of health: Pragmatic acculturation in everyday life
Quah, Stella R
Article from:Health Sociology Review Article date:December 1, 2008
When disease strikes the most immediate reaction is to seek a solution: How to stop this? How to get well again? Then comes the intriguing part: How did I get this problem, and why me?