Health, Place, and Society

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9780130164551: Health, Place, and Society

Health, Place and Society is a groundbreaking text covering both the main issues in medical geography, and also overlapping with key issues in medical sociology. The approach focuses on the empirical, outlining the main research questions in medical geography, addressing how these can be investigated (covering both concepts and measurements) and then reviewing what is known about the issue. The book looks at the more traditional issues of medical geography such as environmental factors, including pollution, prevailing weather conditions, seasonal effects and so on. But the authors also argue that research published over the last ten years has demonstrated that social factors are at least as important in determining the geography of health, particularly the degenerative diseases of the Western world. The book is therefore pitched at both geography and sociology students. It is also international in scope, with examples from Europe, America and the former Soviet Union/communist bloc. These examples are used comparatively with British case studies.

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How long will you live? Will you live a healthy life? If you are well, why are you well when others are ill? Where is health best and worst in the world, in your country, in your neighbourhood? Which groups of people suffer the worst ill health and why? What lies behind the inequalities in our chances of experiencing good or poor health? How do people find out about these things? What can they do about it? Which explanations for how health, place and society are connected are most valid? When will these issues be addressed?

This book introduces students of geography, sociology and the health sciences to the key factors connecting health, place and society. It uses many of the latest research findings while providing an historical context for the sources of this knowledge. The book provides a brief and accessible introduction to the fields of medical sociology and geography, drawing on epidemiology, health care studies and history. It provides many examples and case studies and it suggests further reading, film watching and internet surfing to encourage the reader to explore this rapidly expanding research field further.

In the Preface to the book Peter Haggett says: "One cannot read this book without sensing the authors¿ zest for their chosen field, and a refusal to be hidebound by disciplinary boundaries or conventions. It simply bubbles with their shared interest and enthusiasm for their subject."

This book was written while all three authors were based in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol. Mary Shaw is now Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol, Danny Dorling is a Professor in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds and Richard Mitchell is Research Fellow in the Research Unit in Health, Behaviour and Change at the University of Edinburgh. The authors have jointly written over 50 journal papers, book chapters and books.

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