Thought-provoking essays discuss the meaning of social research

Socio-Medical Inquiries

Recollections, Reflections, and Reconsiderations

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Irving Kenneth Zola

"...Should be read by every anthropologist interested in health issues."
Medical Anthropology Quarterly

This is a book about how to do social research, but it is not a manual of techniques. Rather, these essays examine how research choices are made, what questions are asked, and how research can go wrong or go unexpectedly right. Irving Kenneth Zola dramatically questions the possibility of social science objectivity by beginning this collection with his own intellectual autobiography and by pointing out in the other essays his mistakes and reinterpretations.

The book simultaneously offers a wide-ranging analysis of the medicalization of society. Zola critiques the substantive and methodological literature on the utilization of medical services and the measurements of health and illness. He presents his own research on patient and provider behavior and outlines important areas for future investigation.

In lively, accessible prose, Zola examines the areas where medicine, culture, and society intersect. He discusses why people see a doctor, why they don't take their medicine, and how different ethnic groups approach medical care, as well as topics such as body awareness, self-medication, and the self-help movement.

This is an assumption-shattering and thought-provoking book for social scientists and health care professionals.


About the Author(s)

Irving Kenneth Zola is Chair of the Sociology Department at Brandeis University and Executive Director of the Boston Self Help Center. He also chairs the medical sociology section of the American Sociological Association. He is the author of Missing Pieces: A Chronicle of Living with a Disability (Temple).

Subject Categories

Disability Studies



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