Health, Risk and Vulnerability

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Alan R. Petersen (Ph. D.), Iain Wilkinson
Routledge, 2008 - Medical - 165 pages
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The concept of risk is one of the most suggestive terms for evoking the cultural character of our times and for defining the purpose of social research. Risk attitudes and behaviours are understood to comprise the dominant experience of culture, politics and society in our times.

Health, Risk and Vulnerability investigates the personal and political dimensions of health risk that structure everyday thought and action. In this innovative book, international contributors reflect upon the meaning and significance of risk across a broad range of social and institutional contexts, exploring current issues such as:

  • the 'escalation of the medicalization of life', involving the pathologization of normality and blurring of the divide between clinical and preventive medicine
  • the tendency for mental health service users to be regarded as representing a risk to others rather than being 'at risk' and vulnerable themselves
  • the development of health care systems to identify risk and prevent harm
  • women's reactions to 'high risk' screening results during pregnancy and how they communicate with other women about risk
  • men and the use the internet to reconstruct their social and sexual identities

Charting new terrain in the sociology of health and risk, and focusing on the connections between them, Health, Risk and Vulnerability offers new perspectives on an important field of contemporary debate and provides an invaluable resource for students, teachers, researchers, and policy makers.  

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About the author (2008)

Alan Petersen is Professor of Sociology, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University, Australia.

Iain Wilkinson is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Kent where he teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on the sociology of risk and social theory. He convenes the BSA study group on Risk & Society.

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