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Synopsis

Shortlisted for the BSA Sociology of Health and Illness Book Prize 2009

Traditional distinctions between the experiences of women and men are breaking down and being reconfigured in new, more complex ways. The long-established life expectancy gap between men and women appears to be closing in many affluent societies. Many men appear to be far more ‘body and health conscious’ than they ever were in the past and there are perceptible changes in women’s ‘health behaviours’, such as increases in cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption.

Ellen Annandale provides a comprehensive and persuasive analysis of the contemporary social relations of gender and women’s health, arguing that the once all important sex/gender distinction fosters an undue separation between the social and the biological whereas it is their interaction and flexibility that is important in the production of health and illness. New theoretical tools are needed in a world where the meaning and lived experience of biological sex and of social gender, as well as the connections between them, are far more fluid. This book takes a step forward, outlining what an adequate feminist analysis of women’s health might look like.

Women’s Health and Social Change will be of interest to academics and students working in sociology, women’s studies, gender studies, social medicine, social policy, nursing and midwifery.

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