This volume brings together key readings of significant moments in the understanding of health. It goes beyond the often superficial literature-review style of medical sociology texts. In doing so, this book presents a challenging array of classic and new material on the social basis of health, illness and healing. The reader incorporates many of the elements of the 'new' medical anthropology and sociology of health and illness. Each section of this book is introduced with an essay by the editor, providing a fresh perspective on topical issues setting out the core concerns of the authors whose work follows. In addition, the reader is supported by an extensive guide to further reading. It provides students with an introduction to the field and a critical insight into current debates.