December 4, 2018
A social epidemiologist looks at health inequalities in terms of the upstream factors that produced them. A political sociologist sees these same inequalities as products of institutions that unequally allocate power and social goods. Sociology Chair Jason Beckfield's new book asks an important question: can the two talk to one another? In a new synthesis, Political Sociology and the People’s Health, Professor Beckfield advances the debate over social inequalities in health by offering a new set of provocative hypotheses around how health is distributed in and across populations. It joins political sociology’s macroscopic insights into social policy, labor markets, and the racialized and gendered state with social epidemiology’s conceptualizations and measurements of populations, etiologic periods, and distributions. The first in the Oxford University Press series Small Books, Big Ideas in Population Health, led by Harvard School of Public Health Professor Nancy Krieger, Professor Beckfield launched Political Sociology and the People’s Health at Harvard's Center for Population and Development Studies on October 23.