This book provides a comprehensive and highly readable introduction to the key debates surrounding the concept of health today. It discusses how ... Show synopsis This book provides a comprehensive and highly readable introduction to the key debates surrounding the concept of health today. It discusses how health is defined, constructed, experienced and acted out in contemporary developed societies, drawing on a range of empirical data and theoretical approaches from the USA, Britain, France, Germany, and other countries. Throughout the text special emphasis is given to the lay perspective to show how people themselves think about and experience health and illness. The author guides students through all the relevant conceptual models of the relationship of health to the structure of society, from inequality in health to the ideas of social capital, the risk society and theories of evolutionary biology. The book concludes with a thought-provoking discussion of the impact of new knowledge and technology on our understanding of health and illness in the contemporary world. Health will be an invaluable textbook for students of medicine and other health professions as well as those studying sociology, health sciences and health promotion.