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Sleep and health: sociological reflections on the dormant society



This article takes the neglected sociological issue of sleep, and applies the potential insights contained therein to matters of health and the medicalization of society. Biological and associated factors concerning sleep are first considered, before reflecting more generally on the sociological significance of sleep within the 'dormant' society. Key issues here include: (i) body techniques and the 'doing' of sleep and rest; (ii) the temporal dimensions of sleep; (iii) the 'civilizing' of sleep across the public/private divide; (iv) the social patterning of sleep, and the social role of the sleepers (v) the commercial activities and therapeutic concerns of a (burgeoning) sleep 'industry'. These insights in turn pave the way, in the remainder of the article, for a more sustained set of reflections on sleep, health and medicine, including the colonization of sleep through various forms of (medical) expertise - another chapter in the medicalization story? - and the future sociological research agendas this and related health matters signals. The article concludes with a recapitulation of these themes and a call for a sociologically grounded, yet interdisciplinary sensitive, study of sleep, in health and beyond

Topics: RA0421, H
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