Medicine as Culture: Illness, Disease and the Body in Western Societies

Front Cover
Sage Publications, 2003 - Social Science - 202 pages
The Second Edition of Medicine as Culture provides a broad overview of the way medicine is experienced, perceived and socially constructed in western societies. Drawing on the tradition of the sociology of health and illness, Deborah Lupton directs readers to an understanding of medicine, health care, illness and disease from a sociocultural perspective.

At a time of increasing disillusionment with scientific medicine and the mythology of the beneficent, god-like physician, there is also - paradoxically - a growing dependence on biomedicine to provide the answers to social as well as medical problems. This book illuminates why attitudes to medicine are characterized by such strong paradoxes, and why issues of disease, illness and the medical encounter are surrounded by controversy, conflict, power struggles and emotion.

In this second edition, each chapter has been extensively updated to take account of recent research and theoretical developments. New material has been added on postmodernist theory; the male body; and the new genetics. As well as reviewing and critiquing the dominant theoretical approaches in the sociology of health and illness, Medicine as Culture, Second Edition also includes the following key topics:

socio-cultural analysis of health, illness and medicine

elite and media representations of illness

the body in medicine

the language and visual imagery of medicine, illness and disease

and feminist perspectives

Integrating cultural studies, social history and contemporary theories of the body, Medicine as Culture, Second Edition will be essential reading for students and academics in the sociology of health and illness, the sociology of consumption and everyday life, medical anthropology, the history of medicine, health communication, women's studies, nursing studies and cultural studies.

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