This title was first published in 2001. With critical observations on past approaches to this issue and the proposal of alternative lines of inquiry, this book is concerned with the attempts made by sociologists (and to a lesser extent, doctors) to account for patterns of social conduct that are observably associated with periods of illness. The author argues that medical sociologists have confused the proper realms of biological and sociological inquiry, and that it is this confusion that lies at the heart of the paucity of genuinely informative work in this field. The first chapter examines some of the influential explanations of the social consequences of illness that medical sociologists have put forward. The author analyzes representative selections from the body of literature on illness behaviour and on attempts to formulate accounts of illness within that tradition.