Social medicine, starting two centuries ago, has shown that social conditions affect health and illness more than biology does, and social change affects the outcomes of health and illness more than health services do. Understanding and exposing sickness-generating structures in society helps change them.
This first introductory textbook in social medicine provides a critical introduction to this increasingly important field. The authors draw on examples worldwide to show how principles based on solidarity and mutual aid have enabled people to participate collaboratively to construct health-promoting social conditions. The book offers vital information and analysis to enhance learners’ understanding about promoting health through social and individual means; the micro-politics of medical encounters; the social determination of illness; the influences of race, class, gender, and ethnicity; health and empire; and health praxis, reform, and sociomedical activism.
The book offers compelling ways to understand and to change the social dimensions of health and health care. Students, teachers, practitioners, activists, and people who take part in policymaking will value this book, which goes beyond the usual approaches of texts in public health, medical sociology, health economics, and health policy.
Preface, Acknowledgements, 1. What Is Social Medicine? 2. One and a Half Centuries of Forgetting and Remembering the Social Origins of Illness 3. The Social Determination of Illness, Part 1: Health and Social Contradictions 4. The Social Determination of Illness, Part 2: Inequality, Class, Race/Ethnicity, Gender 5. Social Medicine in the United States 6. Health and Empire, Part 1: Empire’s Historical Health Component 7. Health and Empire, Part 2: Resisting Empire, Building an Alternative Future in Medicine and Public Health 8. Social Medicine in Latin America 9. Social Medicine and the Micro-Politics of Medical Encounters 10. Health Praxis, Reform, and Sociomedical Activism, Appendix: Organizations and Resources in Social Medicine, Index