Welcome to our new website!

Welcome to the official website of the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association!

What is Medical Sociology?

Medical sociology provides an analytical framework for understanding the social contexts of health, illness and health care. Central topics include the subjective experience of health and illness, political, economic and environmental circumstances fostering ill health; and societal forces constraining the medical care system and individuals' responses to illness. This field draws on traditional sociological issues and contributes to them through reformulations of such basic concepts as social systems and institutions, professionalism, social movements and social change, and social interaction and negotiation. Drawing from pluralistic perspectives, the field is concerned with basic sociological research and its implications for public policy and practice.

About the Section

The Medical Sociology Section, one of the ASA's largest sections, brings together social and behavioral scientists from a variety of backgrounds who share an interest in the social contexts of health, illness, and health care. Central topics include the subjective experience of health and illness; political, economic, and environmental circumstances that threaten health; and societal forces that impact on the medical care system and on people's responses to illness. Drawing from many perspectives, the field of medical sociology is concerned with basic sociological research and its implications for public policy and practice.

Medical Sociologists in the news

If a medical sociologist is quoted in the news, please let us know and we will post here.

  • Congratulations to Charles Bosk (University of Pennsylvania), former Chair of the Medical Sociology Section and recipient of the Medical Sociology Section's 2013 Reeder Award, who has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). http://www.iom.edu/
  • NYT Magazine had an article entitled "The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic" on October 20, 2013. Med Soc section member Peter Conrad (Brandeis University) is quoted in it, and so is Adam Rafalovich, a sociologist at Pacific University in Oregon. Medical sociology is one of Rafalovich's specialties. He and Conrad raise some of the sociological questions associated with the increasing frequency of A.D.H.D. diagnoses. See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/magazine/the-not-so-hidden-cause-behind-the-adhd-epidemic.html
  • join the section

    Join over 1000 colleagues who share a common interest in health, illness and medical care as sociological phenomena. As one of the largest sections within ASA, the Medical Sociology Section provides you with broad and highly visible professional connections. Membership of the Medical Sociology section is open to all members of the American Sociological Association (ASA). To join ASA, you can apply online.