Missing in Action? Sociological Analysis and the Provision of Public/Private Healthcare
Healthcare systems across the world are grappling with the challenges of healthcare provision, in particular with the increasing private provision of healthcare services. For many years, healthcare has been viewed as a public good, but this has been replaced with the view that services should be delivered by the market. Surprisingly, there has been little sociological analysis of the implications of this change for patients, providers and governments. This is despite increased concern in the media about rising inequalities in patient access to healthcare and deteriorating health outcomes as public resources are withdrawn or redirected. We are therefore aiming for a lively debate about our field of medical sociology/health sociology and its potential, in particular:
- analytical and explanatory pieces about the lack of extended, critical sociological analysis of these changes to healthcare systems;
- reviews of past trends in medical/health sociology and reflections on future directions;
- assessments of sociology’s past contributions to the health field and reasons for the current lacuna;
- reflections about the changing context of medical/health sociology and its influence on the way sociologists produce knowledge about health.
We invite two types of papers – full papers reporting on theoretical or empirical research; or brief reports – reflections or work in progress on contemporary issues in health/medical sociology, the focus remaining on the public/private healthcare nexus. Participants are asked to specify whether their paper is “brief” or “full”.