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Health and Social Welfare

The “health and social welfare cluster” focuses broadly on how structural, political, institutional, demographic, cultural, and environmental forces shape the policies, practices, and disparities of health, health care, and welfare.

How do processes of professionalization, capitalism, and medicalization change the local landscapes of health in different societies? How do state policies, market forces, and family structures interact to respond to social needs? How do demographic changes and social inequalities shape the patterns of population health? How do the sick or the unemployed draw on available cultural repertoires to construct or sustain their identities? Do their social or cultural capital – and possibly as a consequence, their coping mechanisms – differ by gender, race, or ethnicity? These and other related questions are topics of important debates among policy makers as well as sociologists. Our research in the “health and social welfare cluster” addresses these issues from both the macro and micro perspectives and includes works using diverse methodological approaches and theoretical lenses.

Cluster-Related Courses

270 Social Demography and Population Health.

This course will cover theory and research on the three components of population change—mortality, fertility, and migration—in order to understand how populations grow and change in structure, composition, and distribution. Topics in population health will include social determinants of and social variation in health and mortality

295 Special Topics: Health, Culture, and Inequalities.

This course will examine how structural and cultural forces contribute to health disparities and, more broadly, shape groups’ and individuals’ lived experiences of health and illnesses. Key topics of the seminar include: the market-state-profession interactions shaping the US healthcare system; the processes and social consequences of medicalization; health disparities across gender, class, racial, and ethnic boundaries; the formation of illness identities and narratives outside of the clinic.

295 Special Topics: The Welfare State.

This course will examine health and other government policies, which attempt to provide protection against contingencies such as disability, sickness, old age, poverty, and unemployment; promote full employment; and foster greater equality among individuals and families, as well as classes, genders, and racial and ethnic groups. The course will examine the ways in which rich democracies provide for social needs through differing mixes of state, market and family, and examine the political forces behind the origins and development of welfare states.

People specializing in this area

Beamish, Thomas (Tom)
  • Professor
530 297 8089
2271 SS&H
Spring 2017: Tuesday 1 - 3:00 PM (or just after lecture for SOC18A students)
Halfmann, Drew
  • Associate Professor
2270 SS&H
Spring 2017: T 10-11am, and by appointment
Hamilton, Erin
  • Associate Professor
2244 SS&H
Spring 2017: Wed. 2-4 and by appointment
Kyle, David
2265 SS&H
Spring: Monday, 1:00-3:00
Lo, Ming-Cheng
  • Professor
2269 SS&H
Spring 2017: Thursdays 2:10-4pm
  • Graduate Students
    Kutzleb, Jennifer
    • PhD Candidate
    282 SS&H
    by appointment
    Meagher, Kelsey
    • Ph.D. Candidate
    258 SS&H
    Mondays and Tuesdays 12-1pm
  • Sociology

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    Davis, CA 95616

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    Recent students who have graduated from our program with an interest in health and social welfare include:

    Carolina Apesoa-Varano (PhD 2008) is Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing, UC Davis. Most recently, Carolina has published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Qualitative Health Research.

    Julie Collins-Dogrul (PhD 2007) is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Whittier College. Julie’s health related research, recently published in Social Science and Medicine and Global Networks, focuses on public health issues at the U.S.-Mexico Border.

    Lori Freedman (PhD 2008) is a researcher at the Bixby Center for Reproductive Health, UC San Francisco. Lori’s research is primarily qualitative and focuses on health professionals experiences delivering reproductive health care. She is the author of Willing and Unable: Doctors’ Constraints in Abortion Care (Vanderbilt University Press, 2010).

    Clare Stacey (PhD 2004) is Associate Professor of Sociology at Kent State University. Her book The Caring Self: The Work Experiences of Home Care Aides is the Winner of 2012 Recent Contribution Award (Emotions Section, American Sociological Association).

    Esther Neuwirth is Program Evaluation Consultant, Kaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute. She is the author of The Good Temp (with Vicki Smith; Cornell University/ILR Press, 2008).

    Ellen Scott (PhD 1997) is Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon. Ellen’s research, among other things, addresses various issues regarding welfare, poverty, and childcare.