Medical sociology

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Medical sociology is the sociological analysis of medical organizations and institutions; the production of knowledge and selection of methods, the actions and interactions of healthcare professionals, and the social or cultural (rather than clinical or bodily) effects of medical practice. The field commonly interacts with the sociology of knowledge, science and technology studies, and social epistemology. Medical sociologists are also interested in the qualitative experiences of patients, often working at the boundaries of public health, social work, demography and gerontology to explore phenomena at the intersection of the social and clinical sciences. Health disparities commonly relate to typical categories such as class and race. Objective sociological research findings quickly become a normative and political issue.

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Early work in medical sociology was conducted by Lawrence J Henderson whose theoretical interests in the work of Vilfredo Pareto inspired Talcott Parsons interests in sociological systems theory. Parsons is one of the founding fathers of medical sociology, and applied social role theory to interactional relations between sick people and others. Key contributors to medical sociology since the 1950s include Howard S. Becker, Mike Bury, Peter Conrad, Jack Douglas, David Silverman, Phil Strong, Bernice Pescosolido, Carl May, Anne Rogers, Anselm Strauss, Renee Fox, and Joseph W. Schneider.

The field of medical sociology is usually taught as part of a wider sociology, clinical psychology or health studies degree course, or on dedicated master's degree courses where it is sometimes combined with the study of medical ethics and bioethics. In Britain, sociology was introduced into the medical curriculum following the Goodenough report in 1944: "In medicine, 'social explanations' of the aetiology of disease meant for some doctors a redirection of medical thought from the purely clinical and psychological criteria of illness. The introduction of 'social' factors into medical explanation was most strongly evidenced in branches of medicine closely related to the community — Social Medicine and, later, General Practice" ( Reid 1976 ).

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References

Reid, Margaret (1976), "The Development of Medical Sociology in Britain", Discussion Papers in Social Research No 13, University of Glasgow, archived from the original on 2011-09-30, retrieved 2011-03-11

Further reading

Bird, Chloe E.; Conrad, Peter; Fremont, Allen M. (2000). Handbook of Medical Sociology (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN   978-0-13-014456-0. OCLC   42862076.

Bloom, Samuel William (2002). The Word as Scalpel: A History of Medical Sociology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-507232-7. OCLC   47056386.

Brown, Phil (2008). Perspectives in Medical Sociology (4th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. ISBN   978-1-57766-518-2. OCLC   173976504.

Cockerham, William C. (2001). The Blackwell Companion to Medical Sociology. Oxford, UK; Malden, MA: Blackwell. ISBN   978-0-631-21703-9. OCLC   44039611.

Cockerham, William C.; Ritchey, Ferris Joseph (1997). Dictionary of Medical Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN   978-0-313-29269-9. OCLC   35637576.

Conrad, Peter (2007). The Medicalization of Society: On the Transformation of Human Conditions into Treatable Disorders . Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN   978-0-8018-8584-6. OCLC   72774268.

Helman, Cecil (2007). Culture, Health, and Illness (5th ed.). London, England: Hodder Arnold. ISBN   978-0-340-91450-2. OCLC   74966843.Law, Jacky (2006). Big Pharma: Exposing the Global Healthcare Agenda. New York, NY: Carroll and Graf. ISBN   978-0-7867-1783-5. OCLC   64590433.Levy, Judith A.; Pescosolido, Bernice A. (2002). Social Networks and Health (1st ed.). Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Boston, MA: JAI. ISBN   978-0-7623-0881-1. OCLC   50494394.

Mechanic, David (1994). Inescapable Decisions: The Imperatives of Health Reform. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. ISBN   978-1-56000-121-8. OCLC   28029448.

Rogers, Anne; Pilgrim, David (2005). A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness (3rd ed.). Maidenhead, England: Open University Press. ISBN   978-0-335-21584-3. OCLC   60320098.

Scambler, Graham; Higgs, Paul (1998). Modernity, Medicine, and Health: Medical Sociology Towards 2000. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN   978-0-415-14938-9. OCLC   37573644.

Turner, Bryan M. (2004). The New Medical Sociology: Social Forms of Health and Illness. New York, NY: W.W. Norton. ISBN   978-0-393-97505-5. OCLC   54692993.