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  • Apply functionalist, conflict theorist, and interactionist perspectives to health issues

Each of the three major theoretical perspectives approaches the topics of health, illness, and medicine differently. You may prefer just one of the theories that follow, or you may find that combining theories and perspectives provides a fuller picture of how we experience health and wellness.

Functionalism

According to the functionalist perspective, health is vital to the stability of the society, and therefore sickness is a sanctioned form of deviance. Talcott Parsons (1951) was the first to discuss this in terms of the sick role    : patterns of expectations that define appropriate behavior for the sick and for those who take care of them.

According to Parsons, the sick person has a specific role with both rights and responsibilities. To start with, she has not chosen to be sick and should not be treated as responsible for her condition. The sick person also has the right of being exempt from normal social roles; she is not required to fulfill the obligation of a well person and can avoid her normal responsibilities without censure. However, this exemption is temporary and relative to the severity of the illness. The exemption also requires legitimation    by a physician; that is, a physician must certify that the illness is genuine.

The responsibility of the sick person is twofold: to try to get well and to seek technically competent help from a physician. If the sick person stays ill longer than is appropriate (malingers), she may be stigmatized.

Parsons argues that since the sick are unable to fulfill their normal societal roles, their sickness weakens the society. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary for various forms of social control to bring the behavior of a sick person back in line with normal expectations. In this model of health, doctors serve as gatekeepers, deciding who is healthy and who is sick—a relationship in which the doctor has all the power. But is it appropriate to allow doctors so much power over deciding who is sick? And what about people who are sick, but are unwilling to leave their positions for any number of reasons (personal/social obligations, financial need, or lack of insurance, for instance).

Conflict perspective

Theorists using the conflict perspective suggest that issues with the healthcare system, as with most other social problems, are rooted in capitalist society. According to conflict theorists, capitalism and the pursuit of profit lead to the commodification    of health: the changing of something not generally thought of as a commodity into something that can be bought and sold in a marketplace. In this view, people with money and power—the dominant group—are the ones who make decisions about how the healthcare system will be run. They therefore ensure that they will have healthcare coverage, while simultaneously ensuring that subordinate groups stay subordinate through lack of access. This creates significant healthcare—and health—disparities between the dominant and subordinate groups.

Questions & Answers

what is sociology?
Tapos Reply
Sociology, is the study of Man and his Environment.
MUBARAK
define the term socialisation
rose Reply
it is the process of learning. in which person learn the norms, value ,attitude from society, family , institutions from his birth to death...
Abhishek
sociology derive from where and called what
Gabby Reply
what is sociology
Favour Reply
sociology is simply the scientific study of human behavior and society
Shamar
facts
Kervens
sociology is the systematic investigation of man ,his environment and time in a particular society.
David
Describe the characteristics of society
Aman Reply
Why Socialization Occurs?
Hitman Reply
I think humans are social creatures because our cooperation allowed us to flousrish in the wild, when all kind of meanece lurked in the bushes, this Is why we need to teach other how reality is, so they can integrate what we consider as escential to communicate, understand and share some basic value
JV
since man is considered an "animal"he lacked a lot by imaging in the society and needed to be internalize in the society in order to attain his personal personality by working with the norms, values and culture of that society.
David
since man is considered an animal'
David
what is socity
Midhun Reply
Society is people who form the community to live together in one place for achieving the same vision or mission.
MUHAMMAD
give and explain 4 forms of alienation by Karl Marx
Timothy
zoological are birth, age, gender species economic - class, business, occupation socio-culture are culture, religion, caste base power based are elite, status,
manisha Reply
what are the determinants of social stratification
Saidi Reply
what is the gender ?
Susanta Reply
gender is the social -cultural different between women and men
France
what are the causes of crime ?
manisha Reply
Poverty Lust for Power Lack of Sensitization
Amos
who is doing criminology under masters
manisha Reply
systematic study of group and group interaction, society and societal interaction by implication of different theories, paradigm and research methods
manisha Reply
systematic scientific study of human relations and interaction.
manisha Reply
what is the Basic term of sociology ?
Muhammed Reply
the study of society. patterns of social relationship, culture etc. sociology is to always question the obvious.
David

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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