PainA Sociological Introduction
A Sociological Introduction

Pain in one form or another is probably the most common symptom presented to medical and healthcare professionals, and while for many individuals it consists of a transient episode, for others it is long term and impacts on many aspects of their lives. Traditionally pain has been studied from biomedical or psychological perspectives which may pay less attention to the importance of context, but in recent years a sociology of pain has emerged which gives precedence to the way individuals account for and make sense of pain.


This concise and accessible volume explores structural and interpretive perspectives on pain. It draws upon sociological concepts and empirical data to challenge the assumed objectivity of a biomedical approach, and to give voice to those who actually experience pain. Clearly demonstrating how structural factors such as gender, age, and culture are crucial in explaining how pain is experienced, Elaine Denny offers students a sociological lens through which to view issues such as legitimation, stigma, embodiment, and contest and their relevance for an exploration of pain. The result is an illuminating volume for students of health and medical professions studying pain, the body, and the sociology of health and illness.

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  • November 2017
  • 192 pages
  • 148 x 210 mm / 6 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9780745655543
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9780745655550
  • Open eBook $24.95
  • 9781509527229
Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Historical Perspectives on Pain

Chapter 2: Sociological Theory, Concepts and Pain

Chapter 3: The Experience of Pain

Chapter 4: Care and Care Services for Pain

Chapter 5: Structures of Diversity and Pain

Chapter 6: Pain as an Contested Experience

Chapter 7: Emotional Pain and Suffering

Chapter 8: Health Professionals’ Experience of Pain

Chapter 9 Conclusion

About the Author
Elaine Denny is Emeritus Professor of Health Sociology at Birmingham City University. She is co-editor of Sociology for Nurses (Polity 2016) now in its third edition.
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"Elaine Denny has written a lively survey of research illuminating the experience of pain with a focus on the implications for clinical practice and policy. Problematizing medical assumptions of objectivity around pain assessment, diagnosis and treatment that compound the experience of pain, this accessible book offers a strong critique of current clinical practice."
Hannah Bradby, Uppsala University, Sweden

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