SOCA1200 Health Sociology

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What do you think about Health Management?


Sociology can be described as the study of society, or social life.

Sociology, in essence, studies society in its entirety, including its origins and development, institutions, institutions, and organizations (Keirns (2013)).

So sociology can be understood to include the study of human health.

It examines how the society interacts in health issues (Keirns (2013)).

Keirns (2013) states that health is usually viewed from a medical or biological perspective. However, the impact of social aspects on human health cannot be assumed.

Sociology tends not to ignore other factors that contribute to illness.

These factors include the socioeconomic and cultural factors as well as beliefs (Keirns and al., 2013).

This paper seeks to address the social determinants that affect health using both a Marxist and functionalist perspective.

This paper also attempts to show how they differ from the medical model.

Sociology can be divided into two distinct areas (Weiss & Lonnquist (2015)).

One, sociology attempts the discussion of illness through the use of sociological viewpoints.

Sociology examines the social construction of disease and health, as well as the experiences of illness.

This is where sociology can play a major role in the multidisciplinary research, especially in matters that are considered fundamental by clinicians and health professionals (Purnell (2016)).

Purnell et. al. (2016) claim that sociology is a key component in the formulation of health-related policy and contributes to epidemiological research.

On the other side, sociology allows us to better understand the social processes and how they affect individual health as much as the health of our social group.

These processes encompass risk and consumption as well social inequalities and power. They also affect self-identity and changes.

Functionalist theory emphasizes the importance and stability of society through cooperation (Willis (2015)).

Functionalist theory emphasizes the importance of social events to ensure continuity in society.

According to the theory, society can be compared to a biological organism. Willis, 2015 ).).

This means that the whole is comprised of the parts that are combined.

Further, integration is perceived as being the result of a consensus on norms or values.

Social determinants of health are explained by functionalists using the analogy of a biological organ.

Some of these determinants are: access and availability to resources, health care services, access to social support, criminality, violence, public safety, access to education, employment opportunities, and economic access.

Parsons, one of the key contributors to functionalist theory, sees illness as something that happens socially and not physically (Frank, 2013,).

Functionalists view health as an ability to perform one’s roles effectively.

Frank (2013) states that illness can make it impossible to perform these roles (sick role).

Functionalist theory argues that healthy people are essential to society’s smooth functioning. They can fulfill their roles and be in good health (Willis (2015)).

Sickness can lead to inability to fulfil your roles.

It is a sign that a society is struggling when certain roles are not being fulfilled.

Parsons considers illness a deviation that affects the normal functioning and function of society (Willis (2015)).

Functionalists consider a sick person to be non-productive.

A person who is not productive is a type of deviation or dysfunction and should be addressed by the medical professionals.

Medical professionals and the medical system have a responsibility to treat, prevent, and cure illnesses that can interfere with the performance and maintenance of social norms and actions.

Adler and Cutler (2016) state that illness poses a serious threat both to a social system and to the roles that keep it together (the social structure).

Parsons emphasizes the role of the sick in explaining these threats.

The four main components of the sick role are:

The first is that the sick person can be exempted of all the usual social obligations.

The second is that the sick person can not be held responsible for their own illness.

Thirdly, the sick have a responsibility to make sure they are well.

Fourth, the sick should seek out the necessary help and comply with the advice of the health provider.

In order to be considered sick, a person must comply with all the requirements of the sick role.

Social theory is illustrated by a high school student who wants to become an Attorney.

In this instance, the student is aware that in order to fulfill his/her dream, they must take a test and apply for a job at the college.

If given the chance, the student is expected to work hard and get the highest possible grade in order to gain admission to a law school.

This will help him/her achieve his/her dream of becoming an attorney.

However, the student also knows that failing to do well in college can hinder his/her chance of becoming an advocate.

Therefore, it is important that the student works hard to realize his/her goals.

Marxist perspective offers a second perspective on sociology that provides detailed information about the social factors that affect health.

A growing body of literature exists on the topic of social determinants in health (Adler & Cutler 2016).

Literature has made a significant contribution to understanding the interdependence between class and health.

One of the major ideas of Marxist thought is that the material production is the most important of all human activities (Cockerham (2014)).

Even the most basic needs of human beings like shelter, clothing, food, and money are included in production.

It includes production of various commodities in the modern society.

Because Marxist perspectives are used in medical sectors, they provide a background that explains social origins of illnesses.

Cockerham (2014) claims that the performance of capitalist economic systems has a large influence on population health outcomes.

Additionally, this influence can be seen at two levels.

The first level affects health directly or indirectly.

Indirectly, stress and industrial diseases can affect health.

Indirectly, production in modern capitalist societies has a major impact on our health (Weiss & Lonnquist (2015)).

The effects of pollution on the environment can affect health.

Additionally, some processed commodities may have adverse health effects.

Health is affected by distribution.

In most cases, income and wealth are the determinants of an individual’s living standard (Weiss & Lonnquist (2015)).

This means that income and wealth determine the access of people to education, health facilities and housing. It also affects their recreational opportunities and diet.

These factors are crucial in the social blueprint for good health.

Numerous transformations in the sector of health have been triggered by the social determinants (Benach and al.

Health promotion and public health have changed from behavioural and biomedical approaches towards diseases to health promotion.

The major causes of many diseases have been previously identified as the former and latter, citing genetics, personal choice, health inequality, and individual characteristics (Ng&Muntaner, 2014.).

The social determinants approach to health aims to connect poor health outcomes with low income and poverty.

Ng and Muntaner (2014) state that people living in densely populated areas with low incomes tend to have higher rates of mental health problems, chronic and infectious disease, economic hardship, and extreme wear and tear.

Marx believed that the social determinants are not effective in addressing the same mechanisms that cause economic and social inequality between the have-nots and the have.

Also, the rich’s exploitation of the poor has been overlooked.

Therefore, in order to understand the social determinants that affect health from a Marxist perspective we need to achieve social and economic transformation (Cockerham (2014)).

Cockerham (2014) says that the combination of these two would lead to a more responsive health system for everyone.

The biomedical model doesn’t include the social determinants that affect health.

The biomedical health model is designed to support a person’s physical functioning and use that information to determine their condition (Chambers Feero & Khoury 2016, 2016).

Chambers and colleagues define illness as the presence or absence of sickness.

Chambers, Feero, Khoury view illness as arising from natural or physical causes like infections or bodily injury.

It does not consider the social and psychological aspects.

The biomedical model’s defining feature is its dependence on biomedical changes. (Strickland, Patrick, 2015).

These changes can be defined, measured and isolated.

This case focuses on the functioning and dysfunction of body tissues or organs, not the patient’s overall condition (Strickland&Patrick, 2015).

Strickland (2015) and Patrick (2015) believe that treating biomedical conditions means removing the cause of the condition.

The model is based in the belief of any illness being temporary, thus treatable (Tuckett 2013).

Illness can also be a result of physical conditions.

The sociological perspectives (functionalism, Marxist) offer a comprehensive analysis of the social factors that affect health.

The social model evaluates how environmental, lifestyle and economic factors impact a person’s health and behavior.

It is the behavior in taking risks related to health and making decisions about health care.

This is a departure from the biomedical approach, which emphasizes on the biological and pathological reasons for a disease.

It also considers aspects outside the biological process. This includes factors like gender, wealth, income, race, lifestyle, and environment.

Both models are important in diagnosing and treating diseases.

Both models play a significant role in diagnosing and treating a disease.

In other words, relying solely on one of these models can both hinder and limit the process of diagnosing a disease.


Social Determinants of Health:

Precarious work: Understanding a new social determinant of our health.

Annual review on public health, 35: 229-253.

Convergence in implementation

Science, precision medicine and the learning healthcare system: A new model

Biomedical research.

Medical sociology.

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

From the sick role, to practices of illness and health.

Medical education

Introduction to Sociology.

Rice University OpenStax College

An analysis of macrosocial determinants

Population health: Engaging scientific realism, incorporating social conflict.

Current Epidemiology Reports (I(1)), 27-37.


The implications of the social determinants and health.

Prevention, policy and health, 93.Strickland C. M., Patrick C. J.

Biomedical Model.

The Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology.

An introduction to medical sociallogy.

Sociology of illness, healing, or health.

Talcott Parsons, his legacy and the sociology health and illness


The Palgrave Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine (pp.

Palgrave Macmillan UK.

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