1st Edition

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Health, Technology and Medicine Old Concepts, New Problems

    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    Developments in health, science and technology have long provided fertile analytical ground for social science disciplines. This book focuses on the critical and enduring importance of core concepts in anthropology and sociology for interrogating and keeping pace with developments in the life sciences. The authors consider how transformations in medical and scientific knowledge serve to reanimate older controversies, giving new life to debates about relations between society, culture, knowledge and individuals. They reflect on the particular legacies and ongoing relevance of concepts such as ‘culture’, ‘society’, ‘magic’, ‘production’, ‘kinship’, ‘exchange’ and ‘the body’. The chapters draw on the work of key historical and contemporary figures across the social sciences and include a range of illustrative case studies to explore topics such as transplant medicine, genetic counselling, cancer therapy, reproductive health and addiction. Of particular interest to students and scholars of anthropology, sociology, and science and technology studies, this volume will also be a valuable resource for those working in the fields of health and medicine.

    Foreword (Deborah Lupton)


    1. Culture (Ciara Kierans)

    2. Society (Carol Kingdon)

    3. Magic (Kirsten Bell)

    4. Production (Carol Kingdon)

    5. Kinship (Kirsten Bell)

    6. Exchange (Ciara Kierans)

    7. The Body (Ciara Kierans & Kirsten Bell)



    Ciara Kierans is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology in the Department of Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool, UK.

    Kirsten Bell is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

    Carol Kingdon is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health at the University of Central Lancashire, UK.

    "This groundbreaking collection puts anthropology and sociology in reflective dialogue with recent developments in science and technology to show how core concepts in both disciplines serve to animate and are themselves reanimated by a diverse range of medical technologies and problems.  It provides invaluable theoretical and methodological reflections and resources for situating these disciplines as vital ‘critical interlocutors’ at the centre of contemporary developments in science, medicine and society."

    Sahra Gibbon, University College London, UK

    "A truly collaborative text that consistently makes the compelling case that anthropology and sociology are imperative to the production and deconstruction of science, medicine and technology.  As bio-medicalization escalates at warp speed and technological innovation is infused in both extraordinary and mundane social life, the authors’ sage resurrection of classic concepts advances the integral role of social sciences in critical thinking and daily life."

    Lisa Jean Moore, Purchase College, State University of New York, USA

    "Anthropologists Kierans, Bell, and Kingdon combine their sociological and anthropological expertise to discuss biomedicine and technology by “reanimating” older controversies in the field and bringing them new light. Taking traditional theoretical concepts from the disciplines and leveraging them for a modern take on biomedicalization of the self, the authors show that while sociology and anthropology are often categorized as separate, they have things to offer one another...The authors succeed in offering a cross-disciplinary, historical analysis of major case studies and theories in sociology and anthropology as they relates to medicine and technology. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."

    N. Reid, Independent scholar, CHOICE Reviews