REVIEW PAPER
The social nature of health and illness – evolution of research approaches in Polish classical medical sociology
 
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1
Department of Medical Sociology and Sociology of Family, Institute of Sociology, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland
2
Independent Medical Sociology Unit, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
3
Chair of Sociology of Ethnic Groups and Civil Society, Institute of Sociology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Włodzimierz Piątkowski   

Department of Medical Sociology and Sociology of Family, Institute of Sociology, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2012;19(4):821–835
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Introduction and objective:
The cognitive identity of medical sociology has developed in a historical perspective in the context of a specific double frame of reference comprising medicine and general sociology. The purpose of this study is to reconstruct the process of the development of the subdiscipline’s research specificity in Poland, drawing attention to the general-sociological context of the conceptualization of basic interpretive and analytical sociomedical categories. In this aspect, the presented study is based on the analysis of Polish sociomedical and general-sociological research published from the early 1960s until 1989. The purpose of the study is also to describe in this perspective the structure of the research field of contemporary Western medical sociology, which was a major point of reference in this process.

Abbreviated description of the state of knowledge:
A look at the chronology of how the scientific identity of medical sociology developed in Poland from a historical perspective shows the gradual balancing-out of the subdiscipline’s medical references, typical of the early stage of its development, and manifested in the implementation of research projects for the requirements of doctors, through consistently developed and cultivated connections with general sociology manifested in complementing the knowledge of society with aspects related to health and illness. A sine qua non condition for undertaking this scope of research was to work out strictly sociological formulations of these concepts, which was accomplished as a result of the successful reception of general sociology by the subdiscipline in question.

Summary:
The contemporary understanding of the research field of Polish medical sociology defined by Magdalena Sokołowska and developed as part of the ‘school of medical sociology’, which she initiated, is characterized by the maintenance of close relations with general sociology (affiliations of sociomedical departments in academic sociological institutions, etc.), and at the same time, by partnership cooperation with medicine (teaching in medical universities, application studies, etc.).

 
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