sociology of health and illness pdf

Sociology Of Health And Illness Pdf

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The sociology of health and illness , alternatively the sociology of health and wellness or simply health sociology , examines the interaction between society and health. The objective of this topic is to see how social life affects morbidity and mortality rate , and vice versa.

Research into the sociology of health and illness is the primary objective of RC It supports individual scholars, institutions, and associations that are concerned with such research. It promotes information exchange and scientific meetings at regional, national, and international levels. It encourages the generation of sociological knowledge that enables health professional administrators, officials, and planners to improve the delivery of health services in the domains of prevention, management, cure, and rehabilitation.

13.1 Sociological Perspectives on Health and Health Care

In the functionalist model, Parsons argued that illness is a form of deviance that disturbs the social function of a society. Discuss the functionalist perspective on illness in society, specifically the role the sick play in a specific society and how that role affects others. Structural functionalism, or simply functionalism, is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability.

This approach looks at society through a macro-level orientation, which is a broad focus on the social structures that shape society as a whole. This approach looks at both social structure and social functions. Herbert Spencer : Herbert Spencer was a prominent functionalist sociologist, who likened the functioning parts of society as organs within a body.

Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements; namely norms, customs, traditions, and institutions.

Sick role is a term used in medical sociology regarding sickness and the rights and obligations of the affected. It is a concept created by the American sociologist Talcott Parsons in This is because, from a functionalist perspective, a sick individual is not a productive member of society.

Therefore this deviance needs to be policed, which is the role of the medical profession. In the functionalist model, Parsons argued that the best way to understand illness sociologically is to view it as a form of deviance that disturbs the social function of the society. The general idea is that the individual who has fallen ill is not only physically sick, but now adheres to the specifically patterned social role of being sick.

The theory outlined two rights of a sick person and two obligations. Parsons concluded that there are three versions of the sick role: conditional, unconditional legitimate, and illegitimate a condition stigmatized by others. Critics of Parsons and the functionalist perspective point to different flaws they see with his argument. The model assumes that the individual voluntarily accepts the sick role.

It also assumes that the individual may not comply with expectations of the sick role, may not give up social obligations, may resist dependency, and may avoid the public sick role if their illness is stigmatized. Structural functionalism reached the peak of its influence in the s and s, and by the s was in rapid decline. While some of the critical approaches also gained popularity in the United States, the mainstream of the discipline has instead shifted to a myriad of empirically-oriented middle-range theories with no overarching theoretical orientation.

To most sociologists, functionalism is now obsolete. Conflict theory argues that the economic and political structures of a society create social divisions, inequalities, and conflicts. Examine the differing views on conflict theory from various sociologists, such as Karl Marx and C. Wright Mills. Conflict theories are perspectives in social science that emphasize the social, political, or material inequality of a social group, that critique the broad socio-political system, or that otherwise detract from structural functionalism and ideological conservatism.

Sociologists in the tradition of conflict theory argue that the economic and political structures of a society create social divisions, classes, hierarchies, antagonisms and conflicts that produce and reproduce inequalities.

Certain conflict theories set out to highlight the ideological aspects inherent in traditional thought. While many of these perspectives hold parallels, conflict theory does not refer to a unified school of thought, and should not be confused with, for instance, peace and conflict studies. Of the classical founders of social science, conflict theory is most commonly associated with Karl Marx — Based on a dialectical materialist account of history, Marxism posited that capitalism, like previous socioeconomic systems, would inevitably produce internal tensions leading to its own destruction.

Marx ushered in radical change, advocating proletarian revolution and freedom from the ruling classes. At the same time, Karl Marx was aware that most of the people living in capitalist societies did not see how the system shaped the entire operation of society. Just like how we see private property, or the right to pass that property onto our children as natural, many of members in capitalistic societies see the rich as having earned their wealth through hard work and education, while seeing the poor as lacking in skill and initiative.

Marx rejected this type of thinking and termed it false consciousness, which involves explanations of social problems as the shortcomings of individuals rather than the flaws of society.

Marx wanted to replace this kind of thinking with something Engels termed class consciousness, which is when workers recognize themselves as a class unified in opposition to capitalists and ultimately to the capitalist system itself. In general, Marx wanted the working class to rise up against the capitalists and overthrow the capitalist system. Healthcare reform supporter : Karl Marx wanted to replace false consciousness with class consciousness, in which the working class would rise up against the capitalist system.

Two early conflict theorists were the Polish-Austrian sociologist and political theorist Ludwig Gumplowicz — and the American sociologist and paleontologist Lester F. Ward — Wright Mills has been called the founder of modern conflict theory. Conflict theory is most commonly associated with Marxism, but as a reaction to functionalism and the positivist method, it may also be associated with a number of other perspectives, including critical theory, feminist theory, postmodern theory, post-structural theory, postcolonial theory, queer theory, world systems theory, and race-conflict theory.

According to theorists working in the symbolic interactionist perspective, health and illness are socially constructed. Explain and give examples of social constructions of health according to the symbolic interactionist perspective.

Constructivist grounded theory emphasizes the development of an interactive relationship and mutual construction of knowledge between researcher and participants. In essence, interactionists focus on the specific meanings and causes people attribute to illness.

Medicalization and demedicalization affect who responds to the patient, how people respond to the patient, and how people view the personal responsibility of the patient. An example of medicalization is illustrated by the history of how our society views alcohol and alcoholism. Drunks were not treated in a sympathetic way because, at that time, it was thought that it was their own fault that they could not stop drinking.

During the latter half of the 20 th century, however, people who drank too much were increasingly defined as people with a disease or a genetic predisposition to addiction. With alcoholism defined as a disease and not a personal choice, alcoholics came to be viewed with more compassion and understanding. While interactionism does acknowledge the subjective nature of diagnosis, it is important to remember who benefits the most when a behavior becomes defined as illness.

Pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars treating illnesses such as fatigue, insomnia, and hyperactivity that may not actually be illnesses in need of treatment, but opportunities for companies to make more money. The labeling approach to health and illness claims that mental illness is manifested solely as a result of societal influence. Labeling theory is closely related to social-construction and symbolic-interaction analysis. Developed by sociologists during the s, labeling theory holds that deviance is not inherent to an act.

The theory focuses on the tendency of majorities to negatively label minorities or those seen as deviant from standard cultural norms. The theory is concerned with how the self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them. It is associated with the concepts of self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping. The social construction of deviant behavior plays an important role in the labeling process that occurs in society.

Mental illnesses are socially constructed illnesses and psychotic disorders do not exist. Soft labeling refers to people who believe that mental illnesses do, in fact, exist, and are not entirely socially constructed.

Scheff published Being Mentally Ill. Scheff challenged common perceptions of mental illness by claiming that mental illness is manifested solely as a result of societal influence. He argued that society views certain actions as deviant. In order to come to terms with and understand these actions, society often places the label of mental illness on those who exhibit them.

Certain expectations are placed on these individuals and, over time, they unconsciously change their behavior to fulfill them. Criteria for different mental illnesses, he believed, are not consistently fulfilled by those who are diagnosed with them because all of these people suffer from the same disorder.

Labels, while they can be stigmatizing, can also lead those who bear them down the road to proper treatment and recovery. Here, people vary along different dimensions, and everyone falls at different points on each dimension. Privacy Policy. Skip to main content. Health and Illness. Search for:. Sociological Perspectives on Health and Illness. The Functionalist Perspective In the functionalist model, Parsons argued that illness is a form of deviance that disturbs the social function of a society.

Learning Objectives Discuss the functionalist perspective on illness in society, specifically the role the sick play in a specific society and how that role affects others. Key Takeaways Key Points Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements namely norms, customs, traditions, and institutions , much like the interacting organs within the human body.

Functionalism is a framework that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. Functionalists argue that a sick individual is not a productive member of society; therefore this deviance needs to be policed.

This is the role of the medical profession. Structural functionalism reached the peak of its influence in the s and s, and by the s was in rapid decline, replaced by conflict-oriented approaches in Europe and more recently by structuralism.

Key Terms deviance : Actions or behaviors that violate formal and informal cultural norms, such as laws or the norm that discourages public nose-picking. The Conflict Perspective Conflict theory argues that the economic and political structures of a society create social divisions, inequalities, and conflicts.

Learning Objectives Examine the differing views on conflict theory from various sociologists, such as Karl Marx and C. Key Takeaways Key Points Conflict theories are perspectives in social science that emphasize the social, political, or material inequality of a social group.

Of the classical founders of social science, conflict theory is most commonly associated with Karl Marx, who posited that capitalism would inevitably produce internal tensions leading to its own destruction.

Ward approached conflict from a comprehensive anthropological and evolutionary point-of-view. Conflict theory is most often associated with Marxism, but may also be associated with other perspectives such as critical theory, feminist theory, postmodern theory, queer theory, and race -conflict theory. Key Terms functionalism : Structural functionalism, or simply functionalism, is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability.

The Interactionist Perspective According to theorists working in the symbolic interactionist perspective, health and illness are socially constructed. Learning Objectives Explain and give examples of social constructions of health according to the symbolic interactionist perspective. Key Takeaways Key Points Symbolic interactionist researchers investigate how people create meaning during social interaction, how they present and construct the self, and how they define situations of co-presence with others.

The Labeling Approach The labeling approach to health and illness claims that mental illness is manifested solely as a result of societal influence. Key Takeaways Key Points Developed by sociologists during the s, labeling theory holds that deviance is not inherent to an act. Hard labeling refers to those who argue that mental illness does not exist.

They note the slight deviance from the norms of society that cause people to believe in mental illness. Soft labeling refers to people who believe that mental illnesses do, in fact, exist. Unlike the supporters of hard labeling, soft labeling supporters believe that mental illnesses are not entirely socially constructed. Key Terms self-fulfilling prophecy : a prediction that, by being voiced, causes itself to come true social construction : A concept or practice that is the construct or artifact of a particular group, meaning that the concept or practice is understood differently by various groups and institutions.

Sociology of health and illness

Many people including students of sociology often wonder about the relevance of social sciences especially sociology to health issues. In general, it is often a challenge to discuss the nexus between social science and health. Why medical sociology? What does sociology have to do with medicine or health? This chapter aims to answer these questions.

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An assessment of the Black Report's explanations of health inequalities · David Blane. Pages: ; First Published: 01 November Abstract · PDF.


13.1 Sociological Perspectives on Health and Health Care

Health, Illness, and Society. This engaging text provides a sociological perspective on health, illness, and health care. Serving as an introduction to medical sociology for undergraduate and graduate students, it also presents a summary of the field for medical sociologists and for public health scholars and practitioners.

Health and medicine are key areas of sociological specialization, but in the face of rapid global challenges, they are changing. The need for change is becoming more and more urgent and the relevance of some of the traditional approaches, frameworks and theoretical perspectives should be evaluated. The aim of this article is to reflect on this issue and to explore what could be done in response to scientific and societal developments. We argue that more innovative approaches and better research questions would guide us to be more responsive as medical sociologists.

Handbook of Medical Sociology, Sixth Edition

13.1 Sociological Perspectives on Health and Health Care

I put the date because at this point it feels that no one knows where we are going over the next few weeks and months, and it is curiously exposing to write in the centre of the pandemic. Nor do I primarily want to map out research priorities for other sociologists. However I want to start by insisting on the right not to rush to formulate new research or draw conclusions. No doubt numerous studies will be done but research can also take time. Our current experience of the pandemic is all about breath. Writing before this crisis, Brown, Buse, Lewis, Martin and Nettleton explore the challenges of minimising infection for people living with cystic fibrosis, and the ways these are made relevant for those designing, modifying and working within contemporary hospitals.

As this definition suggests, health is a multidimensional concept. Although the three dimensions of health just listed often affect each other, it is possible for someone to be in good physical health and poor mental health, or vice versa. Medicine refers to the social institution that seeks to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness and to promote health in its various dimensions. This social institution in the United States is vast, to put it mildly, and involves more than 11 million people physicians, nurses, dentists, therapists, medical records technicians, and many other occupations.

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The editors provide a blueprint for guiding research and teaching agendas for the first quarter of the 21 st century. In a series of essays, this volume offers a systematic view of the critical questions that face our understanding of the role of social forces in health, illness and healing. It also provides an overall theoretical framework and asks medical sociologists to consider the implications of taking on new directions and approaches. Such issues may include the importance of multiple levels of influences, the utility of dynamic, life course approaches, the role of culture, the impact of social networks, the importance of fundamental causes approaches, and the influences of state structures and policy making.

Introduction to the Sociology of Health and Illness

In the functionalist model, Parsons argued that illness is a form of deviance that disturbs the social function of a society. Discuss the functionalist perspective on illness in society, specifically the role the sick play in a specific society and how that role affects others.

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