Briana Mensah Unit 7; Sociological Perspectives for

February 17, 2019 Sociology

Briana Mensah
Unit 7; Sociological Perspectives for Health and Social Care.

P1; explain the principal sociological perspectives
P2; explain different sociological approaches to health and ill health.

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M1; assess the biomedical and socio-medical models of health.

In this assignment I will explain what sociology is and explain the principals sociological perspectives then explain how the different approaches are used in health and ill health. Will then assess the biomedical and socio-medical models of health. Sociology is the scientific study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture of everyday life. Many sociologists aim to conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. A perspective is simply a way of looking at the world. According to Wikipedia, the sociological perspective is a particular way of approaching a phenomenon common in sociology. Sociological theories help us to explain and predict the social world in which we live. There are many sociological perspectives available but the three main perspectives are;
Symbolic interactionism
Each perspective offers a variety of explanation about the human behaviour and social world.
The view in functionalism is that the parts of society act in unison, even though they act in different ways. It is a theory that focuses on the macro-level of social structure, rather than the micro-level of everyday life. Functionalism is a perspective created by Emile Durkheim. He believed society was made up of inter-connected institutions (for example education, family, government) which depended on each other to function. The functionalist perspective has its origins in the works of Emile Durkheim, who was especially interested in how social order is possible or how society remains relatively stable. According to functionalism, an institution only exists because it serves a vital role in the functioning of society. Functionalism sees the social structure and organisation of society more important than an individual. If it no longer serves a role, an institution will die away. When new needs evolve or emerge, new institutions will be created to meet them. Durkheim actually envisioned society as an organism, and just like within an organism, each component plays a necessary part, but none can function alone, and one experiences a crisis or fails, other parts must adapt to fill the void in some way. Example ;in most societies, the government, or state, provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends to keep itself running. The family is dependent upon the school to help children grow up to have good jobs so that they can raise and support their own families. In the process, the children become law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, who in turn support the state. From the functionalist perspective, if all goes well, the parts of society produce order, stability, and productivity. If all does not go well, the parts of society then must adapt to produce new forms of order, stability, and productivity. Functionalists see society as being similar to the human body. In the same way the body relies on the heart to pump blood round to other vital organs like the lungs and brain. Functionalists see society as being constructed of different inter-dependent components like the family and education. So in the same way the human body would fail if the heart stopped, functionalists’ argue society would stop working properly if the family stopped functioning properly. Functionalism believes that the family is an institution in which primary socialisation occurs.

The symbolic interaMarxism
Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory is works in philosophy that are strongly influenced by Karl Marx’s materialist approach to theory. This approach looks at the inequalities of wealth which are established by a capitalist economic system and how it affects individuals and society. This sociological was developed by Karl Marx who had a view that the industrial society that there were two social classes which is the capitalists–is a small group who had factories and different places of employment and the proletariat– this is a poor group of workers who were employed by the capitalists. Marxism believes that there was a real contradiction between human nature and the way that we must work in a capitalist society. Marxism theory believes that we live in a capitalist society which aims to gain capital from the bourgeoisie. Marxism believes that capitalism is not only an economic system but is also a political system. Marxism believes that capitalism can only thrive on the exploitation of the working class. He believes that economic conflict produces class (rich, middle and poor) and inherently class produces conflict. Marxists believe that deviance is any behavior that differs from the societal norm. It is seen as deviant because as a society, we do not accept it. Neo-Marxism is based on ideas initially projected by Karl Marx. Marx believed that economic power led to political power and that this is the key to understanding societies. Neo-Marxists believe the economic system creates a wealthy class of owners and a poor class of workers. They also believe that certain social institutions such as churches, prisons and schools have been created to maintain the division between the powerful and the powerless. Marxism theory says that soon classes will disappear and be absorbed either into the bourgeoisie or the proletariat. Marx stated that two different social class rich and poor will always be in conflict, this explains why the Marxism theory was also called the conflict model. But Marxism said that this theory will help resolve this conflict. According to Marx those who have economic power control all other institutions. During Marx’s day there was some evidence to suggest this was true – Voting was restricted to men with property; Press Barons used their papers to spread propaganda; and only the children of the wealthy could get to university. The Bourgeois use their control of institutions to keep the masses ignorant of their exploitation – this is known as ideological control. According to Marx this was mainly done through the Mass Media and Religion.
This approach looks at how the government has the main responsibility to provide health care services to society. Collectivists is where the most vulnerable people in society are given some form of support e.g. The disabled, the homeless, the elderly and the children. All these group of people in the society are given some type of support for example: the disabled are given disability living allowance, the elderly can get state pension, children can get child benefit, the homeless are given house benefits as well as council tax benefits. However, Illegal immigrants are not entitled to anything. The main priority for the collectivism is to provide support and meet the needs of service users. For example, individuals who were children and old people received support from the government. An example of collectivism in the UK is the Welfare State (Benefits) which was formed after the Second World War, from recommendations made by the report for social security and Allied services community known as the Beveridge report. They make people have contribution by taxing them from their salary and this is through everyone’s National Insurance.

A postmodernist society is one in which the ideas of space and time is restricted. Post-modernist argues that the ideas and the modern era, such as structures and seeking scientific explanations to events no longer applies. Postmodernist argue that in a postmodern society, the ideas of social class, capitalism and large scale social structures is no longer valid. Within a post-modern society, the rules, norms and values are not clear as these vary from one location to the next and from one group of people to the next. The level of respect for teachers has decreased. Postmodernist society are filled with uncertainty and the quest for identity. Postmodernist argue that in a postmodern society, the ideas of social class, capitalism and large scale social structures is no longer valid. As different attributes are now being used as an indicator to social class, e.g. what and where we eat? The car we drive, the friends we have and our social pursuits. Postmodern societies are becoming more individualistic and materialistic, this can and does create tensions with society.

The Interactionism approach looked at individual’s behaviour and the way society are shaped under the influence of small groups. Interactionism in sociology is a theoretical perspective in which society is thought to be a product of the everyday social interactions among millions of people. Instead of looking at a social system on a larger scale, such as the entire population of a country or third world countries, interactionism focuses on smaller-scale social interactions such as the interactions between individuals or small social groups. Interactionist’s will look at various groups from gangs to patients in hospital wards. This approach believed that individuals were being influenced by the socialisation process. This was because individuals were able to choose their own roles and choose how they’ll behave. Theorists weren’t interested about the social structure, but on how individual’s behaviours were caused by the way the individual looks at a situation. Interactionism in sociology focuses on the way that we act or make conscious choices regarding our behaviour that proceed from how we interpret situations. In other words, humans are not simply reacting to social stimuli: we are social actors and must adjust our behaviour based on the actions of other social actors. According to interactionists, gender stratification exists because people act toward each other based on the meanings they have for each other, and that these meanings are derived from social interaction. Interactionism does not look at bigger social factors that could influence an individual’s behaviour. Many social theorists tend to base their idea on interactions between small groups than bigger issues.

P2; Explain different sociological approaches to health and ill health.
Before I explain the different sociological approaches to health and ill health, I will first explain what health, ill health and medicine is. The World Health Organisation (WHO 1985) speak of health as a state of ‘complete physical, mental and social well-being’. Health refers to
The functionalist approach to health and ill health
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. His general idea is that individual who has fallen ill is not only physically sick but now adhere to the specifically patterned social role of being sick. The model assumes that the individual voluntarily accepts the sick role. It also assumes that the individual may not comply with expectations of sick role may not give up social obligation, may avoid the public sick role to their illness is stigmatized. The functionalist model blames the sick. The functionalist sees ill health as something which happens randomly. Talcott Parsons stated that for society to work effectively and efficiently, they need to be healthy. Functionalists see ‘ill health’ as a bad thing which is not made for society, therefore if a part or someone is ill in a society then it affects the whole society.

Marxist approach to health and ill health:
Marxist believe that the definition of health and ill-health is determined by the bourgeoisie. They also believe that doctors only serve the interest of the ruling/upper class (British medical association). Upper classes have more money and power can enjoy a higher standard of health. They also claim that the government in capitalist society allows companies to contribute to ill-health in society. Marxist defines ill health depending on an individual’s social class. E.g. it is more likely for those in a low social class to have an increase in levels of illness and lower life expectancy due to lack of good housing, pollution. NHS is a means that benefits the bourgeoisie by ensuring that the workers remain well enough to work. Workers may understand their inequality but believe the system is fair (false consciousness). Some Marxists argue that the ‘free’ health service is a victory for the proletariat. Some argue that social wage provides free state resources on top of payment to individual. However, critics such as Le Grand (1979) argues that in fact the middle classes have gained more from the health service than lower classes – inverse care law.Postmodernism approach to health and ill health
Post modernists believe that people should challenge conventional views on health and ill-health. Post-modernist is concerned with the ‘deconstruction’ of meanings, in other words they challenge (deconstruct) the claims made by certain theories.

Interactionists approach to health and ill-health:
it worries about individual’s physical wellbeing and focuses on the issues of health and illness. They believe that some people with serious illness do not consider themselves as ill while others do. Professional and patients negotiate how ill the person is and whether they should be excused as ‘signed off work’. They also think about the effects this could have.

M1; assess the biomedical and socio medical model of health
The biomedical model of health is a medical model of care practised by health professionals and doctors and is associated with diagnosis cure and treatment of disease. biomedical model of health is a positive method as it encourages an individual to research about their diseases and it does not assume they can’t do anything to treat their disease. The biomedical model of health deals with the physical and biological factors of disease, the model does not take into consideration of the psychological, social influence regarding the individual illness and the environment. The biomedical model of health assumes that disease is abnormal, that every illness has a specific cause and it is experienced in the same way in all societies. It is considered to be the leading modern way for health care professionals to diagnose and treat a condition in most Western countries. The biomedical model of health is mostly used by health professionals and is the foundation of medical science. The model focuses on the cute of an illness. A weakness to this model of health is it does not look at a patient’s history and does not ask full details questions about an illness with this the illness is most likely to reoccur in future. the biomedical model does not consider diagnosis, which affects treatment of the patient, to be the result of a negotiation between doctor and patient. The bio medical model of health is related to functionalist approach of health as it specifies that health is the absence of disease and it’s regarded as the dysfunctional of the society as individuals cannot make positive contribution to the running of the society. The model does not consider the social environment factors of ill health but relays on the scientific method to diagnose and address the illness if the illness cannot be diagnosed, then the individual would be labelled as malingering. According to the bio medical model of health, every illness has a cause and once the health care professionals remove the cause then the individual can become healthy again this model doesn’t consider that the person has or will be in pain and that pain can lead to many. Furthermore, this approach is supported by scientific research, much of which is impartial and proved beyond reasonable doubt. Without this model there will be little known about how to treat and diagnose illnesses. However some disadvantages of this model is it relies on professional health workers and technology and it therefore costly and it doesn’t encourage people to live healthy lives as they are treated to fix problems as they arise, the focus is on the condition and not the determinants that caused it.

The socio medical model of health believes that in order to improve health, it is necessary to address the environmental and social cause of illness within the society. Marxism and feminism are both known as conflict models as they demonstrate the inequality in society. They believe that some people in the society are healthier than those who are disadvantaged. It is a community approach tp prevent disease and illness. This model empowers individuals and communities with health Knowledge as they can make positive decisions about their health and participate in healthy behaviours. It also aims to promote equality for all people and to achieve this the social determinants which leads to inequality such as culture, gender and class are addressed.

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