Medical Power and Social Knowledge
- Bryan S Turner - City University of New York, USA
Anthropology (General) | Sociology of Health and Illness
Bryan S Turner considers the ways in which different social theorists have interpreted the experience of health and disease, and the social relations and power structures involved in medical practice. He examines health as an aspect of social action and looks at the subject of health at three levels - the individual, the social and the societal. Among the perspectives analyzed are: Parsons' view of the `sick role' and the patient's relation to society; Foucault's critique of medical models of madness and sexuality; Marxist and feminist debates on the relation of health and medicine to capitalism and patriarchy; and Beck's contribution to the sociological understanding of environmental pollution and hazard in the politics of health.
`Turner's intelligible and readable style and his broad grasp of social theory and history make this volume an interesting blend of historical particularities and specific cross-national examples. It is a work that is both entertaining, informative and accessible to sociologists and students' - Medical Sociology News
`Symbolises the maturation of the sociology of health and illness.... In sum, both students and scholars alike would profit from thinking through the issues, criticisms and directions raised in this book for it will force them to argue from a more historically sensitive and theoretically sound position. The book is at its best in being challenging and thought provoking. Whether or not readers always agree with the argument or criticism, they are required to intellectually engage and question their own work. For these reasons, the book will initiate fruitful discourse' - Sociology
Reviews of the first edition:
`Bryan Turner has built on his previous work on the sociology of the body to expand, redefine, and evaluate critically medical sociology, producing a broad interdisciplinary synthesis of approaches to health, illness and the medical professions.... the comprehensiveness, originality and critical force of this survey of medical sociology are admirable' - American Journal of Sociology
`This is a superb textbook. The material on history and the interactional aspects of illness is outstanding... because of its logic and clarity... should be required reading for all medical schools' - The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
`This book can be recommended as the best brief introduction to medical sociology' - Medical History
would have liked the book to engage more deeply with current health issues
An excellent, illuminating and thorough piece by Prof. Turner which is a must for courses on sociology of medicine, health and/or body.
A valuable text providing alternative perspectives on medical knowledge; useful for students studying any area of healthcare.