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How do we understand health in relation to society? What role does culture play in shaping our experiences of, and orientation to, health and illness? How do we understand medicine and medical treatment within a sociological framework? Medical sociology is a dynamic and complex field of study, comprising many concepts which students sometimes find difficult to grasp. This title manages to successfully elucidate this conceptual terrain. The text systematically explains the key concepts that have preoccupied medical sociologists from its inception and which have shaped the field as it exists today. Thoroughly revised and updated, this second edition: * provides a systematic and accessible introduction to medical sociology * includes new relevant entries as well as classic concepts * begins each entry with a definition of the concept, then examines its origins, development, strengths and weaknesses * offers further reading guidance for independent learning * draws on international literature and examples. This title has proved hugely popular among students in medical sociology as well as those undertaking professional training in health-related disciplines. It is essential reading for anyone wanting to find an easily accessible, yet critical and thoughtful, information source about the building blocks of medical sociology.