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Medicine as Culture
Illness, Disease and the Body

Third Edition


April 2012 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Medicine as Culture has become the classic text for the sociology of health and illness, combining perspectives drawn from a wide variety of disciplines including sociology, anthropology, social history and cultural studies. The books teases out how medicine and health care are sociocultural constructions, ranging from mass media and high cultural representations of illness, disease, and health care workers to the power dynamics of the doctor-patient relationship.

The Third Edition has been updated to cover new and emerging areas of interest including: the role of computerized communication technologies in providing access to medical information; new medical technologies and how they contribute to people's understandings of their bodies and selfhood; how bioethical issues and dilemmas are negotiated in clinical settings; the changing role of nurses in healthcare provision; and new research in neuroscience on the plasticity of the brain and the notion of 'brain types' and how this research contributes to novel understandings of the brain in lay and medical cultures.


 
Introduction
 
Theoretical Perspectives on Medicine and Society
 
The Body in Medicine
 
Representations of Medicine, Illness and the Body
 
The Lay Perspective on Illness and Disease
 
Power Relations and the Medical Encounter
 
Feminisms and Medicine
 
Conclusion

Medicine as Culture introduces students to a broad range of cross-disciplinary theoretical perspectives, using examples that emphasize bodies and visual images. Lupton's core contrast between lay perspectives on illness and medical power is a useful beginning point for courses teaching health and illness from a socio-cultural perspective

Arthur Frank
Department of Sociology, University of Calgary


This new edition of Medicine as Culture is a welcome updating of a text that has become a mainstay of the medical sociologist's library. Providing a clear statement of the emergence and role of medicine in cultural contexts, Deborah Lupton offers excellent summaries and comparisons of the major theoretical perspectives that illuminate our understanding of illness, the body and its social care. Students and teachers will appreciate the clarity and organisation of this book, which confirm it as a leading text in its field
Alan Radley
Emeritus Professor of Social Psychology, Loughborough University


Deborah Lupton's discourse analysis of contemporary writing on medical knowledge, exposes how medical discourses are not neutral, objective advisories on how we are to live our lives but rather culturally constitutive of our bodies and ways of thinking and talking about health and illness. In Australia today, if you turn on day-time television, you will note that a medical 'show', The Doctors has replaced Oprah as arbiter of how to live healthily, what we are to know about bodily health and which medical discoveries are to be trumpeted from news bulletins across multiple forms of media. Such media representations of authoritative, medicalised health signify that Deborah Lupton's newest edition of Medicine as Culture is more relevant than ever! Her lucid analyses of biomedicalisation furnish fresh insights and cogent critiques of the allure of, and challenges to medical power in the 21st Century - an already influential work updated and renewed - for all forms of health professional and researcher
Trudy Rudge
Professor of Nursing, University of Sydney



An excellent Medical Sociology text, with a chapter on Bodies, Pain and Suffering. This has been added as a recommended text,

Dr Bethany Simmonds
Social, Historical & Literary Studies, Portsmouth University
August 21, 2016

Deborah Lupton illustrates very well the power imbalances between people's conceptualisation of health, ill-health and their bodies and the dominant bio-medical approaches. It also illustrates the many shortcomings of these power imbalances. She explores a very important health topic, yet a disregarded one -specially in the field of global health. I will add this book to my list of recommended readings, as I think that Deborah Lupton does a great job at building bridges between disciplines and health knowledges.

Dr Mei Trueba
Health , Brighton and Sussex Medical School
October 1, 2015

a great overview of medicine and the body from sociological point of view

Mr Fergus Hogan
Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
September 14, 2015

My students have always liked this book - v accessible and so its great to have a new edition

Dr Sarah Nettleton
Department of Sociology, York University
February 11, 2014

This is a great book to help students to really think about the impact of medicine on health and well being. Stimulating and thought provoking the students who I have introduced this book to have found it valuable in supporting their understanding of the sociology of health.

Mrs Liz Whitney
Midwifery and women's health, Bradford University
May 16, 2013

Thought provoking and interesting text. Would be highly recommended for any course which examines the holistic approach to care. I found the style very accessible but would suggest it is most suited to wider background reading at final year undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Mrs Lynne Gordon
Sch of Health & Emergency Professions, Hertfordshire University
February 10, 2013

Excellent material related to the current issues influencing public health.

Professor Debby Cardillo
Allied Health, Brown Mackie College - Canton
November 18, 2012

This is an excellent, thought-provoking book that basically acts as an introduction to sociology and anthropology for health students who may never have explored these subjects previously. I would recommend it to dissertation students who expressed an interest in these areas, but it probably wouldn't be appropriate as part of the core reading for our course.

Dr Shelina Visram
Sch of Health,Community & Educ Studies, Northumbria University
September 7, 2012

Medicine as culture provides a useful overview of the sociology of medicine that reflects contemporary debates from a range of academic disciplines to inform the understanding of those working and studying in health professions.

Dr Laetitia Zeeman
Nursing , Brighton University
June 6, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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