The Nature of Sociology: Explanations and Applications

  • Ron Iphofen
  • Fiona Poland


Health and illness affect not just people’s bodies, but also how they organise their whole lives: working, relaxing, caring and feeling in control. Health care professionals have to care for the whole person, which means avoiding treating people as a set of body parts or symptoms. Professionals need methods for understanding their clients, their colleagues and themselves. Sociology is about understanding the individual’s place in the world: where they are, what they do and what their views are. It is about how they come to be in that place and think the things that they think.


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Further reading

  1. Some introductory sociology texts which explain the theoretical perspectives discussed here in more detail include:Google Scholar
  2. Abercrombie, N. and Warde, A. with Soothill, K., Urry, J. and Walby, S. (1994) Contemporary British Society, Oxford: Polity PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Giddens, A. (1997) Sociology (3rd edn), Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  4. O’Donnel, M. (1992) A New Introduction to Sociology (3rd edn), Walton-on- Thames: Thomas Nelson & Sons.Google Scholar
  5. Other texts which give a different angle on applying sociology to health are:Google Scholar
  6. Bond, J. & Bond, S. (1993) Sociology and Health Care (3rd edn), Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
  7. Scambler, G (ed.) (1991) Sociology as Applied to Medicine (3rd edn), London: Bailliere Tindall.Google Scholar
  8. The following are medical sociology books which develop in detail the issues which we deal with here:Google Scholar
  9. Fox, N.J. (1993) Postmodernism, Sociology and Health, Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Murcott, A. (1993) Health, Disease and Medicine, Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Radley, A. (ed.) (1993) Worlds of Illness: Biographical and Cultural Perspectives on Health and Disease, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Stacey, M. (1988) The Sociology of Health and Healing, London: Unwin Hyman.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Ron Iphofen and Fiona Poland 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ron Iphofen
  • Fiona Poland

There are no affiliations available

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