Health, Emotion and The Body / Edition 1

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In this compelling new book, Gillian Bendelow provides an accessible account of the complex interplay between mind, body and society. Contemporary critiques of biomedicine and the process of medicalisation have long emphasised the limitations of traditional western scientific medicine in the separation of mind and body. The subsequent turn to more holistic models of health and illness is now beginning to permeate medical education and healthcare practice. For Bendelow, a key aspect of this paradigm shift is the development of more sophisticated concepts of stress, which address the intertwining of emotion and embodiment, and emphasise social and material factors alongside biopsychological components. These theoretical and conceptual issues are explored first through an emphasis on contemporary health practices, and then through developments in illness and medicine. Examining the ways in which 'healthism', rather than 'medicalisation', pervades most areas of everyday life, attention is drawn to the bodily practices we pursue in the name of health. These include concerns with sexual health, health promotion, the use of complementary or alternative medicine, and the notion of emotional health. The book then considers the implications of being diagnosed as ill, and charts the limits of the divisions between 'mental' and 'physical' illness, examining a range of conditions, including chronic pain, eating disorders and other illnesses of the contemporary world. Health, Emotion and the Body combines clarity of expression with careful scholarship and originality, making it appeal to students and scholars with a wide range of interests, including the sociology of health and illness, the body, and mental illness, as well as health psychology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Bendelow offers an accessible and extremely enjoyable book foranyone intrigued by contemporary ideas surrounding the illbody."

"This comprehensive book critically examines contemporary modelsof health and illness ... The book reminds us of the need toconsider the individual experience of illness while seeing eachperson in his or her social context ... Of particular note is thestraightforward reminder that illness is a social and emotionalexperience. The author reminds us that is the patient who should bediagnosed, not merely the disease. 5/5"
Nursing Standard

"A cogent and intelligent account of the implications ofmind/body interactions for health."
Sociology of Health and Illness

"The quality of writing is high. Apart from the many casehistories used to illustrate the points being made, ProfessorBendelow gives many insightful observations on modern life and theway in which medical practitioners are responding."
RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health Journal

"In thisinsightful, timely, and engaging book, Gillian Bendelow takes afresh look at the relationship between physical and mental illness,and their treatment.  Positing stress as the keyto mind-body medicine, Bendelow’s analysis sheds much-neededlight on key issues from medically unexplained symptoms to thesurveillance implications of mind-body approaches. A must-read foranyone interested in the social dimensions of medicine, Health, Emotion and theBody charts the course to critical new areas ofinquiry."
Laura Carpenter,Vanderbilt University

"Questions aboutthe relationship between bodies, lives and medicine preoccupy allof us from time to time. In this accessible and very importantbook, Gillian Bendelow takes us through the critical issuesunderlying what medicine has to offer contemporary health problems.She identifies a paradigm shift, in which dualistic mind-bodymodels and the dehumanizing and bureaucratic health care systems inwhich these are often embedded, are now widely understood asfailing to provide any real understanding of how we live in andexperience our bodies. Her arguments should be read by all thosewith an interest in humane health care (which is most of us,whether practitioners, users or students). The book is an elegantcompendium of many different strands of thought, its conclusions acompelling directive for a more integrated approach."
Ann Oakley, University of London

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745636436
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/19/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Gillian Bendelow is Reader in Sociology at the University of Sussex.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Beyond Biomedicalization: Integrated Models of Health& Illness.

Chapter 2 'Stress': the Key to Mind/Body?.

Chapter 3 Medically Unexplained Symptoms and ‘ContestedConditions’.

Chapter 4 Medical Responses to Emotional Distress.

Chapter 5 Complementary Medicine and Alternative HealingSystems.

Chapter 6 Holism or Healthism?.


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