Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Social research in health and the American sociopolitical context: The changing fortunes of medical sociology

Contents:

Author Info

  • Mechanic, David
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    The fortunes of medical sociology, like other public policy-relevant disciplines, are shaped by political dynamics and prevailing values and attitudes. In the 1990s the field, which views disease and disability as consequences to a substantial degree of material conditions, social stratification, and inequalities among varying strata, lost ground to economics as societal attention focused on cost containment issues. Sociological concern with social structures clashed with dominant conservative and individualistic perspectives and the increased focus on personal responsibility and market strategies. There was decreasing tolerance in policy circles for the view that health, and the problems affecting disenfranchised groups such as the poor, the homeless, the uninsured and people with disabilities, were more due to our politics and social arrangements that the personal characteristics of those affected. Thus, little attention has been given in public health discourse to how life imperatives and social opportunities and constraints shape behavior. The paper documents the important role of the social sciences in health services research with special attention to examining the social context of the RAND Health Insurance Experiment. Although many of the questions medical sociology address sit on the periphery of policy-makers' concerns, a strong case is made for the revitalization of a critical scholarly role in medical sociology. I conclude, given the short and longterm problems we face in medicine and health, that we would have to invent a vigorous critical medical sociological enterprise if we did not already have one.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VBF-4665F24-VP/2/e971c1e9c3dc1e73ac7f0eea54a952b6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 36 (1993)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 95-102

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:36:y:1993:i:2:p:95-102

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description

    Order Information:
    Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional
    Web: http://www.elsevier.com/orderme/journalorderform.cws_home/315/journalorderform1/orderooc/id=654&ref=654_01_ooc_1&version=01

    Related research

    Keywords: medical sociology RAND Health Insurance Experiment social stratification and health health behavior disability health policy;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:36:y:1993:i:2:p:95-102. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.