Books on History & Sociology

See also:    Sociology   

Dreger, Alice

Duchan, Judith Felson
This book is about the doing and experiencing of diagnosis in everyday life. Diagnoses are revealed as interactive negotiations rather than as the assigning of diagnostic labels. The authors demonstrate, through detailed discourse analyses, how the diagnostic process depends on power and accountability as expressed through the talk of those engaged in the diagnostic process. The authors also show that diagnostic decisions are not only made by professional experts trained in the art and science of diagnosis, but they can also be made by anyone trying to figure out the nature of everyday problems. Finally, diagnostic reasoning is found to extend beyond typical diagnostic situations, occurring in unexpected places such as written letters of recommendation and talk about the nature of communication. Together, the chapters in this book demonstrate how diagnosis is a communication practice deeply rooted in our culture. The book is interdisciplinary and unusually broad in its focus. The authors come from different experiential scholarly backgrounds. Each of them takes a different look at the impact and nature of the diagnostic process. The diagnoses discussed include autism, Alzheimer's disease, speech and language disorders, and menopause. The focus is not only on the here and now of the diagnostic interaction, but also on how diagnoses and diagnostic processes change over time. The book can serve as an undergraduate or graduate text for courses offered in various disciplines, including communication, sociology, anthropology, communication disorders, audiology, linguistics, medicine, and disability studies.

Fitzgerald, Michael
Genius Genes: How Asperger Talents Changed the World proposes that many famous historical figures had an autistic mind-style, and that this should color the way we approach autism today Arguing that highly creative people are largely born and not made, the authors of Genius Genes: How Asperger Talents Changed the World present case studies of the lives of 21 famous individuals, tying their personalities, talents and lifestyles to the major characteristics of Asperger Syndrome. Subjects range from the well-known to some more obscure, including political/military figures (Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Stonewall Jackson, Bernard Law Montgomery and Charles de Gaulle), mathematicians (Archimedes, Charles Babbage, Paul Erdos, Norbert Wiener, David Hilbert, and Kurt Godel), scientists (Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Henry Cavendish and Gregor Mendel), writers (Gerard Manley Hopkins and H. G. Wells), plus maverick aviator Charles Lindbergh, psychologist John Broadus Watson and sexologist Alfred C. Kinsey. This book s chief importance lies in challenging from a fresh perspective an often negative perception of autism and Asperger Syndrome by demonstrates that many persons with autism have lived rich, complex and productive lives, and that their intelligence contributed hugely to shaping the world that we now know.

Fitzpatrick, Michael
Autism: disease, disorder or difference? What causes autism - genes or environment? Can biomedical treatments cure autism, and are they safe? An increased public awareness of autism has resulted in a rising trend of diagnoses, creating the impression of an 'epidemic'. Many parents of children newly diagnosed with autism have been impressed by plausible theories blaming vaccines and other environmental causes. Many have also been captivated by claims that 'biomedical' treatments - including special diets and supplements, detoxification and medications - can achieve dramatic results.In "Defeating Autism", Michael Fitzpatrick, a family doctor and father of a son with autism, questions the scientific basis of environmental explanations of autism and exposes the incoherence of unorthodox 'biomedical' theories and therapies. This book reveals that these therapies are far from pioneering interventions and they remain unsubstantiated by scientific authorities. Campaigns promising to 'defeat or cure autism now' have attracted much support among parents struggling with their difficult children. But the crusade against autism risks dehumanising and stigmatising those who are identified as autistic and their families. This compelling book is essential reading for students and professionals working in the field of autism, as well as academics concerned with the public understanding of science and the treatment of scientific and medical controversies in the media.

Kessler, Suzanne

Nettleton, Sarah
The book aims to provide students with a thorough grounding in the area of the sociology of health and illness. As such it covers a diversity of topics and draws on a wide range of analytic approaches. The text spans issues such as the social construction of medical knowledge, the analysis of lay health knowledge and beliefs, concepts of lifestyles and risk, the experience of illness and the sociology of the body. It also explores matters which are central to health policy, such as professional-patient relationships, health inequalities and the changing nature of health care work. A central theme which runs throughout the book is that we are moving towards a new paradigm of health and health care, one in which people are no longer passive recipients of treatment when they are ill, but are active participants in the maintenance of their own health. This is reflected in contemporary health policy which emphasizes health promotion, community health care and consumerism.

Nugent, Benjamin
Most people know a nerd when they see one but can't define just what a nerd is. American Nerd: The Story of My People gives us the history of the concept of nerdiness and of the subcultures we consider nerdy. What makes Dr. Frankenstein the archetypal nerd? Where did the modern jock come from? When and how did being a self-described nerd become trendy? As the nerd emerged, vaguely formed, in the nineteenth century, and popped up again and again in college humor journals and sketch comedy, our culture obsessed over the designation. Mixing research and reportage with autobiography, critically acclaimed writer Benjamin Nugent embarks on a fact-finding mission of the most entertaining variety. He seeks the best definition of nerd and illuminates the common ground between nerd subcultures that might seem unrelated: high-school debate team kids and ham radio enthusiasts, medieval reenactors and pro-circuit Halo players. Why do the same people who like to work with computers also enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons? How are those activities similar? This clever, enlightening book will appeal to the nerd (and antinerd) that lives inside all of us.

Offit, Paul
A London researcher was the first to assert that the combination measles-mumps-rubella vaccine known as MMR caused autism in children. Following this "discovery," a handful of parents declared that a mercury-containing preservative in several vaccines was responsible for the disease. If mercury caused autism, they reasoned, eliminating it from a child's system should treat the disorder. Consequently, a number of untested alternative therapies arose, and, most tragically, in one such treatment, a doctor injected a five-year-old autistic boy with a chemical in an effort to cleanse him of mercury, which stopped his heart instead. Children with autism have been placed on stringent diets, subjected to high-temperature saunas, bathed in magnetic clay, asked to swallow digestive enzymes and activated charcoal, and injected with various combinations of vitamins, minerals, and acids. Instead of helping, these therapies can hurt those who are most vulnerable, and particularly in the case of autism, they undermine childhood vaccination programs that have saved millions of lives. An overwhelming body of scientific evidence clearly shows that childhood vaccines are safe and does not cause autism. Yet widespread fear of vaccines on the part of parents persists. In this book, Paul A. Offit, a national expert on vaccines, challenges the modern-day false prophets who have so egregiously misled the public and exposes the opportunism of the lawyers, journalists, celebrities, and politicians who support them. Offit recounts the history of autism research and the exploitation of this tragic condition by advocates and zealots. He considers the manipulation of science in the popular media and the courtroom, and he explores why society is susceptible to the bad science and risky therapies put forward by many antivaccination activists.

Offit, Paul
Maurice Hilleman is the father of modern vaccines. Chief among his accomplishments are nine vaccines that practically every child gets, rendering formerly deadly diseases -- including mumps, rubella, and measles -- nearly forgotten. Author Paul A. Offit's rich and lively narrative details Hilleman's research and experiences as the basis for a larger exploration of the development of vaccines, covering two hundred years of medical history and traveling across the globe in the process. The history of vaccines necessarily brings with it a cautionary message, as they have come under assault from those insisting they do more harm than good. Paul Offit clearly and compellingly rebuts these arguments, and, by demonstrating how much the work of Hilleman and others has gained for humanity, shows us how much we have to lose.

Pickover, Clifford
Archimedes to Hawking takes the reader on a journey across the centuries as it explores the eponymous physical laws--from Archimedes' Law of Buoyancy and Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Hubble's Law of Cosmic Expansion--whose ramifications have profoundly altered our everyday lives and our understanding of the universe. Throughout this fascinating book, Clifford Pickover invites us to share in the amazing adventures of brilliant, quirky, and passionate people after whom these laws are named. These lawgivers turn out to be a fascinating, diverse, and sometimes eccentric group of people. Many were extremely versatile polymaths--human dynamos with a seemingly infinite supply of curiosity and energy and who worked in many different areas in science. Others had non-conventional educations and displayed their unusual talents from an early age. Some experienced resistance to their ideas, causing significant personal anguish. Pickover examines more than 40 great laws, providing brief and cogent introductions to the science behind the laws as well as engaging biographies of such scientists as Newton, Faraday, Ohm, Curie, and Planck. Throughout, he includes fascinating, little-known tidbits relating to the law or lawgiver, and he provides cross-references to other laws or equations mentioned in the book. For several entries, he includes simple numerical examples and solved problems so that readers can have a hands-on understanding of the application of the law. A sweeping survey of scientific discovery as well as an intriguing portrait gallery of some of the greatest minds in history, this superb volume will engage everyone interested in science and the physical world or in the dazzling creativity of these brilliant thinkers.

Post, Jerrold
What impels leaders to lead and followers to follow? How did Osama bin Laden, the son of a multibillionaire construction magnate in Saudi Arabia, become the world's number-one terrorist? What are the psychological foundations of man's inhumanity to man, ethnic cleansing, and genocide? Jerrold M. Post contends that such questions can be answered only through an understanding of the psychological foundations of leader personality and political behavior. Post was founding director of the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior for the CIA. He developed the political personality profiles of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat for President Jimmy Carter's use at the Camp David talks and initiated the U.S. government's research program on the psychology of political terrorism. He was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit in 1979 for his leadership of the center. In this book, he draws on psychological and personality theories, as well as interviews with individual terrorists and those who have interacted with particular leaders, to discuss a range of issues: the effects of illness and age on a leader's political behavior; narcissism and the relationship between followers and a charismatic leader; the impact of crisis-induced stress on policymakers; the mind of the terrorist, with a consideration of "killing in the name of God"; and the need for enemies and the rise of ethnic conflict and terrorism in the post–Cold War environment. The leaders he discusses include Fidel Castro, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, and Slobodan Milosevic.

Sasson, Noah
Same-race faces are better discriminated and recognized than less experienced, other-races faces. This "Own-Race Bias" (ORB) has been robustly demonstrated in many psychological studies, yet the perceptual basis of this phenomenon is still not well understood. Recent face perception studies have discovered that configural properties of the face (i.e., the spatial relations among features) are processed differently than featural information, and may be directly tied to developmental experience with faces. This study examines age-related changes in the ORB and seeks to determine whether a superior developmental improvement in the perception of configural information in more experienced same-race faces contributes to the emergence of the ORB. A sample of children and adults with high-functioning autism were also included to test whether these processes differ for this population. The book is addressed to researchers interested in development, face perception, and autism.

Siegel, Marc
Life today for citizens of the developed world is safer, easier, and healthier than for any other people in history thanks to modern medicine, science, technology, and intelligence. So why is an epidemic of fear sweeping America? The answer, according to nationally renowned health commentator Dr. Marc Siegel, is that we live in an artificially created culture of fear. In False Alarm, Siegel identifies three major catalysts of the culture of fear -- government, the media, and big pharma. With fascinating, blow-by-blow analyses of the most sensational false alarms of the past few years, he shows how these fearmongers manipulate our most primitive instincts -- often without our even realizing it. False Alarm shows us how to look behind the hype and hysteria, inoculate ourselves against fear tactics, and develop the emotional and intellectual skills needed to take back our lives.

Singh, Simon
Whether you are an ardent believer in alternative medicine, a skeptic, or are simply baffled by the range of services and opinions, this guide lays to rest doubts and contradictions with authority, integrity, and clarity. In this groundbreaking analysis, over thirty of the most popular treatments -- acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic, and herbal medicines -- are examined for their benefits and potential dangers. Questions answered include: What works and what doesn't? What are the secrets, and what are the lies? Who can you trust, and who is ripping you off? Can science decide what is best, or do the old wives' tales really tap into ancient, superior wisdom? In their scrutiny of alternative and complementary cures, authors Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst also strive to reassert the primacy of the scientific method as a means for determining public health practice and policy.

Worden, Gretchen
Home to over 20,000 mind-boggling anatomic specimens, plaster casts, wax models, and paintings, the Mutter Museum, founded in 1858, is part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. This book features over 100 photographs by a select group of renowned photographers whose work appears in the award-winning Mutter Museum calendars. Highlights include a bust of an early-19th-century Parisian widow with a six-inch horn protruding from the forehead; the connected livers of Chang and Eng, the world-famous Siamese twins; the skeleton of a 7'6" giant from Kentucky; and a collection of 139 skulls showing anatomic variation among ethnic groups in central and eastern Europe. Historical photographs from the museum's archives, brief background texts about the collection, stunning photographs by acclaimed photographers including William Wegman and Joel-Peter Witkinand, and an introductory essay on the museum are also included.

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