Suffering: A Sociological Introduction

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Polity, 2005 - Philosophy - 190 pages
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In Suffering Iain Wilkinson provides a compelling sociological exploration of human suffering, and its political and moral repercussions.

Sociology is always concerned with the causes and consequences of human suffering in one form or another, yet there is no sociology of suffering per se. This book is written with the understanding that if sociology fails to attend to what suffering does to people then it is left with a severely diminished account of human experience. Wilkinson maintains that a sociological response to suffering must confront the most unsettling questions of meaning and morality. He argues that the apparent 'senselessness' of suffering has the power to transform dramatically the ways we relate to society and ourselves. The book explores some of the ways in which our sensitivity towards this 'problem of suffering' is related to a new 'politics of compassion' in modern societies.

Powerful and timely, the book will have strong appeal to upper-level undergraduate students of sociology, anthropology, health, politics, and cultural studies, in addition to general readers concerned to understand one of the most pressing issues of our time.
  

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Contents

SUFFERING SOCIAL SCIENCE AND THE CHALLENGE TO SOCIOLOGY
1
WHAT IS SUFFERING?
16
OUR CLASSICAL HERITAGE
46
A CRITICAL APPRAISAL
79
FEELING FOR HUMANITY
108
MEDIATIZED SUFFERING AND THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF CONSCIENCE
136
TOWARDS A CRITICAL SOCIOLOGY OF SUFFERING
157
REFERENCES
169
INDEX
187
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About the author (2005)

Iain Wilkinson is Lecturer in Sociology at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent.

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