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Medical Sociology
An Introduction



November 2008 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
What are the limits of medical power? How has sociology helped to make sense of illness, disease, choice and risk? What are the challenges to medical practice?

This timely and assured text provides lecturers and students with a well informed, penetrating analysis of the key questions in medicine and society. The book is divided into three sections. It opens with a well judged account of the context of health and illness. It moves on to examine the process and experience of illness. Finally, it examines how health care is negotiated and delivered.

The result is an accessible, coherent and lively book that has wide inter-disciplinary appeal to students of medical sociology, medical care and health management.

 
Part 1 The social context of health and illness
 
A very brief history of medicine and society
Introduction

 
1900 - the dawn of the twentieth century

 
First World War: 1914-1918

 
1918-1939

 
Second World War 1939-1945

 
1945 to the 21st century

 
Costs and benefits of 20th century medical innovation

 
Health inequalities

 
Medical transformations

 
Further reading

 
Revision questions & Extension questions

 
 
Defining the doctor's remit
Introduction

 
Diagnosis: legitimate and illegitimate illness

 
Treating diagnosed disease

 
Defining death

 
Doing death

 
Defining doctors as special healers

 
Overlap with other professionals' work

 
Specialization to the point of incoherence?

 
Medicine's place in society

 
Further reading

 
Revision questions & Extension questions

 
 
Defining health, defining disease
Introduction

 
Biomedical disease model

 
Limitations of the biomedical model

 
Defining health

 
Lay understandings of health

 
Dimensions of lay models of health

 
The context of health

 
Biomedical disease and the value of health

 
Further reading

 
Revision questions & Extension questions

 
 
Part 2 Getting ill, being ill
 
The social causes of disease
Introduction

 
Class, ill health and industrial revolution

 
Social class and inequality

 
Public policy approaches to inequality

 
Mechanisms causing health inequalities by class

 
Ethnicity and inequality

 
Age and gender

 
Tackling health inequalities

 
Future prospects

 
International health inequalities

 
Further reading

 
Revision questions & Extension questions

 
 
Risk, choice and lifestyle
Introduction

 
Individuals and their behaviours

 
Risk taking and thrill seeking

 
Risky sex and gay men

 
Prejudice and blame

 
Cousin marriage and congenital problems

 
Risk and preventative medicine

 
New risks, new diseases - we're all patients now?

 
Risk, lifestyle medicine - what next?

 
Further reading

 
Revision questions & Extension questions

 
 
Experiencing illness
Introduction

 
The sick role

 
Sickness as deviance

 
Stigma and illness

 
Illness as failure

 
Biographical disruption and illness narratives

 
Autopathography

 
Remaking lives?

 
Further reading

 
Revision questions & Extension questions

 
 
Ill bodies in society
Introduction

 
Bodies in society

 
Embodied illness

 
Dualist thinking

 
Bodies as machines

 
Suffering bodies

 
Impaired bodies and disability

 
Further reading

 
Revision & Extension questions

 
 
The process of disability
Introduction

 
Disability and the life course

 
Chronic illness, impairment and disability

 
The social model of disability

 
The cultural model of disability

 
Special or universal needs

 
Further reading

 
Revision & Extension questions

 
 
Part 3 Getting healthcare
 
Doctor-patient relationships
Introduction

 
Self-care

 
Appropriate consultation

 
Compliance, co-operation, conflict

 
Inverse care law

 
Evidence on medical consultations

 
Communicating across the divide

 
Co-operation and challenge

 
Further reading

 
Revision & Extension questions

 
 
The healthcare organization
Introduction

 
What's so special about the NHS?

 
Socialized medicine

 
Insurance system

 
Pluralist socialized system

 
Evaluating the NHS

 
Reforming the NHS

 
Clinical governance

 
Medical dominance

 
The role of the hospital

 
Commercial and industrial interests in the NHS

 
The context of care

 
Further reading

 
Revisions & extension questions

 
 
Challenges to medicine
Introduction

 
Changing medical practice

 
Disappearing doctors, disappearing patients

 
Doctors' difficulties

 
Regulating medicine

 
Reform from within

 
Non-human threats

 
Prospects

 
Further reading

 
Revision & Extension questions

 
 
Conclusion
Introduction

 
Change and continuity

 
Effective care: competing priorities

 
The politics of communication

 
Uncertainty

 
Context

 

Provides a sophisticated introduction to the main issues in medical sociology. It is written in an accessible manner, making good use of examples and of questions that encourage the reader to reflect on the material that is presented. It gives a thoughtful and thorough account to provide advanced understanding - an excellent volume and one that I strongly recommend
Professor James Nazroo, Sociology
The University of Manchester


Hannah Bradby has written an introduction to medical sociology that resonates with the lives and concerns of medical students. She provides a sociological lens through which they can critically examine the organization, rituals, practices and evidence base of modern medicine. This book expands horizons by turning attention from illness to health, from high technology to human experience and from diagnosis and treatment to health outcomes
Professor Gary Albrecht
University of Illinois at Chicago, USA and University of Leuven, Belgium


Hannah Bradby's Medical Sociology: An Introduction pulls together a wealth of material on social aspects of medicine in society. The book combines cogent discussion with summaries, further reading and relevant questions. Essential for medical students and others studying health and illness, this lively text is set to become a market leader in its field
Mike Bury
Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Royal Holloway, University of London


It provides necessary information from the field of Medical Sociology

Dr Zsuzsanna Elekes
Institute of Sociology and Social Policy, Corvinus University of Budapest
May 4, 2019

The text is accessible and is underpinned by activities and questions designed to make the student think about what they have read and apply it.

Mrs Marcia Louise Dewar
health and social science, Bradford College
October 24, 2015

Book excellent for definitions on a introductory lesson.

Mr Lewis Simpson
Department of Health & Social Studies, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education
January 10, 2014

This is an excellent text but it is written with the medical student in mind, rather than a social science undergraduate student. It is an excellent book which I shall use as a supplemental text, but does not cover all of the topics that I teach in this course, and does not cover them from a sociological perspective.

Dr Julianne Law
School of Social Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor
August 31, 2011

A really useful book that covers key issues in the sociology of health very well.

Dr Daniel Bloyce
Dept of Sport & Excercise Science, Chester University
October 20, 2010

accessible, well laid out, very well received by students

Ms Victoria Lavender
Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, University of the West of England, Bristol
July 23, 2010

Good specific text for more able students.

Janet Scammell
School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University
June 1, 2010

A very good text, accessible and relevant.

Professor Anthony Pryce
Applied Behavioural & Biological Scis, City University
October 16, 2009

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction PDF

Chapter One PDF


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