Experiences of health and illness are fundamental to how we understand ourselves, and the postmodern obsession with body image has made health even more significant in identity formation. The study of subjective experiences of health and illness can also provide a challenge traditional objective medical knowledge and, given current healthcare interest in user involvement, can highlight the need for change in health service provision. This book explores the interplay between identity and health, private and public, mind and body. Drawing on new material, and using and exploring innovative biographical and narrative methods, it covers a broad range of identities in relation to health and illness, including race, religion, ethnicity, disability, age, body image, sexuality and gender. Identity and Health will be of great interest to academics, researchers and students of sociology, medical anthropology, health and psychology.
David Kelleher is Reader Emeritus in the Sociology of Health at the London Metropolitan University. He has been writing and lecturing on health and illness for twenty years and, as the son of an Irish father and an English mother, describes himself as having a problematic identity.
Gerard Leavey is Assistant Director of Research and Development at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust. His research interests include mental health services for minority ethnic communities, the interface between religious organisation and psychiatric services, and the mental health of children in schools.