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September 8, 1951

Social Pathology: A Systematic Approach to the Theory of Sociopathic Behavior

JAMA. 1951;147(2):203-204. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670190103037

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Abstract

This book, written by a professor of sociology, deals in general with aberrations or deviations from normalcy in human society, such as crime and prostitution or other "pathological phenomena" or maladjustments in social behavior. This clearly shows that the term "pathology" is borrowed from medicine and applied to sociology, and therefore social pathology in this sociological sense differs from the strict medical usage of the term, where social pathology means the relation between genuine disease (e. g., tuberculosis, cancer, venereal diseases, or rheumatic fever) and social-environmental conditions. This latter interpretation of social pathology, or the social etiology of diseases and their varying prevalence in different social groups, as is shown by medical statistics, forms the theoretical foundation of social medicine. As a medical discipline in its own right, social pathology has found special representation nowadays in England through a number of academic chairs (as at Oxford, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Sheffield),

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