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This book draws on a broad range of theoretical perspectives to bring to life social theories relating to health and illness. Using case studies it provides contrasting insights into the expanding jurisdiction of medicine over popular issues, including binge drinking, obesity, the prominence of therapy and the search for happiness. Full of student-friendly features such as summary boxes, clear sign-posting and cross-referencing, the book will appeal to students and academics to show how theory can be applied to issues in health and medicine. It is also relevant reading for health professionals who may lack knowledge of social theory and how it can help to understand the relationship between health, medicine and society. The book will also benefit students in the social sciences who are familiar with social theory and interested in how it can be applied to health, medicine and society.