Putting a Name to It: Diagnosis in Contemporary Society

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JHU Press, May 16, 2011 - Medical - 200 pages

Finalist, Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness Book Prize, British Sociological Association

Over a decade after medical sociologist Phil Brown called for a sociology of diagnosis, Putting a Name to It provides the first book-length, comprehensive framework for this emerging subdiscipline of medical sociology.

Diagnosis is central to medicine. It creates social order, explains illness, identifies treatments, and predicts outcomes. Using concepts of medical sociology, Annemarie Goldstein Jutel sheds light on current knowledge about the components of diagnosis to outline how a sociology of diagnosis would function. She situates it within the broader discipline, lays out the directions it should explore, and discusses how the classification of illness and framing of diagnosis relate to social status and order. Jutel explains why this matters not just to doctor-patient relationships but also to the entire medical system. As a result, she argues, the sociological realm of diagnosis encompasses not only the ongoing controversy surrounding revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in psychiatry but also hot-button issues such as genetic screening and pharmaceutical industry disease mongering.

Both a challenge and a call to arms, Putting a Name to It is a lucid, persuasive argument for formalizing, professionalizing, and advancing longstanding practice. Jutel’s innovative, open approach and engaging arguments will find support among medical sociologists and practitioners and across much of the medical system.


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Recommended reading materials for the class of Sociology 580, fall 2015


Whats in a Name?
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3 Whats Wrong with Me? Diagnosis and the PatientDoctor Relationship
4 Beyond Our Ken? Contested Diagnoses and the Medically Unexplained
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About the author (2011)

Annemarie Goldstein Jutel is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

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