Theorising disability and chronic illness: Where next for perspectives in medical sociology?

The Social Theory and Health Annual Lecture has just been published and may be of interest to medical humanities scholars.

Carol Thomas, “Theorising disability and chronic illness: Where next for perspectives in medical sociology?” Social Theory & Health 2012 (10): 209-228.

Abstract: The proposal in this article is that the time is ripe for a distinct sociology of disability to come into being as a new sub-discipline within mainstream sociology. This sociology of disability would be a variant of equality and diversity stud14ies in the discipline – located alongside the now familiar engagements with gender, ‘race’, sexuality, age and social class. The sociology of disability would encompass the study of disablism and impairment effects, with the former taking centre stage. This means that disability would cease to be located almost exclusively in a specialized sub-field of interpretative medical sociology – known for several decades as the sociology of chronic illness and disability. Rather, disability – like gender – would become a key dimension of global social divisions and inequity that can be approached from a multiplicity of analytical directions, using a rich mix of theoretical perspectives, methodologies and research techniques. This article will unpack some of the arguments in favour of such a move – dividing these into three argumentative threads for presentational purposes. Of course, no one can determine the direction taken by a discipline – it is a matter of argument, debate and initiative.

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