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

Sigrun Olafsdottir*, Jason Beckfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Other keywords

  • Health Inequality
  • Income Inequality
  • Mental Health Policy
  • Welfare Regime
  • Welfare State


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