Health and the Social Rights of Citizenship: Integrating Welfare-State Theory and Medical Sociology

  • Sigrun Olafsdottir
  • Jason Beckfield
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Social scientists have long been interested in the link between societal processes and individual outcomes. The founders of sociology were interested in how social integration affected suicide rates (Durkheim 1951 [1897]), how the social organization of labor relations impacted worker experience (Marx and Engels 1964 [1848]), how religious principles translated into individuals’ work ethics (Weber 1930), how modern society impacted mental health (Simmel 1950), how mental health institutions shaped individual inmates (Goffman 1961) or how the social system impacted health care utilization (Parsons 1951). All addressed issues of health, illness, and healing in one way or another, yet medical sociologists have tended to pay less attention to the distal forces of societal-level institutions, focusing instead on the more proximate micro- and meso-level determinants of individual health.


Income Inequality Welfare State Health Inequality Mental Health Policy Welfare Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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