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Sociology of Diagnosis: A Preliminary Review

Sociology of Diagnosis

ISBN: 978-0-85724-575-5, eISBN: 978-0-85724-576-2

Publication date: 3 August 2011


Purpose – This chapter presents a case for reframing medical sociology to focus on diagnosis as a pivotal category of analysis via an extended literature review of the diagnosis as a tool of medicine.

Methodology/approach – Conceptual overview.

Practical implications – By reviewing the range of social functions served by diagnosis, and the similarly wide assortment of social forces that shape diagnostic categories, this chapter pushes social scientists and theorists to consider diagnosis as a cornerstone to the understanding of health, illness, and disease.

Originality/value of paper – Building on Brown's earlier call for a sociology of diagnosis, this chapter sets forth potential parameters for this field. It defines how the study of diagnosis is dissipated across myriad areas of scholarship, including medicalization, disease theory, ethics, classification theory, and history of medicine. Extirpating diagnosis and revealing it for specific discussion provides an opportunity to study topics such as illness experiences, health social movements, and disease recognition from a different and rich perspective.



Jutel, A. (2011), "Sociology of Diagnosis: A Preliminary Review", McGann, P. and Hutson, D.J. (Ed.) Sociology of Diagnosis (Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 3-32.



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