In chapter 4 I tended to concentrate on the social environment of the patient as the frame through which the possibility of sickness is made available to the sick person. I tried to set out something of the way in which social relationships, language and technology interact to generate the material and intellectual conditions for social action. But a constant theme of this book is that such matters cannot be separated from actual practical circumstances. Social order is a construct of dozens of individual instances of social action and cannot ultimately be divorced from them. Consequently, in this penultimate chapter I am turning back to the analysis of individual action to develop a tentative model for the study of illness as social action.