Sociological Perspectives

The sociology of health and disease has two distinct traditions, each with somewhat different implications for the field of bioethics. The first tradition is socioepidemiologic in nature, which is to say it focuses on understanding how the distribution of death and illness is influenced by such factors as age, gender, race, and social class. The second tradition is oriented to the doctor-patient relationship and is concerned with the meanings of illness for patients and practitioners, and with how these meanings reflect the nature of power and authority in society.

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