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Sociological Approaches To Health And Sick Health

In this assignment I will check out the various sociological perspectives on health insurance and sick health as well as the different definitions from it.

Defining health is very difficult as there are many different views. There have been many criticisms of the defining of health. The definition of health has changed over time. For example

In Mauritania; a little country in N. W. Africa, overweight is considered a sign of beauty. Girls are 'force-fed' so that they develop up with that excess weight look.

In the american country obesity sometimes appears as unwell health, unattractive and associated with negative stereotypes.

Obesity continues to be regarded as a sign of prosperity and well-being in many elements of Africa.

Functionalist Approach

The functionalist strategy on health and ill health derives from Talcott Pearson. Talcott saw ill health as a threat to society and assumed that good health was essential for society to be still performing. He said that ill health affects our potential to work and perform our jobs in society. Because of this he said that for a person to be looked at sick and tired there are several expectation to be fulfilled. He called the prospects the 'suffering role' which indicated how people are said to be like when they are sick and how they must be thinking. The sick role divides into two teams; the rights and the obligations.


The sick and tired person is free from any social jobs. For example work, or university, they must be allowed to take the day off in order to make contact with normal

The sick person is not in charge of their condition


The person should seek for medical assistance. For example going to the doctors to get inspected up and get treatment

The person should not like being suffering. For example the person shouldn't fake being sick just because they get attention as well as getting a day off their normal tasks.

However the sick role backfires sometimes as people have a tendency to lose endurance with the unwell person or refuse they are sick and tired for reasons such as liking the role. For example family, they may show sympathy at the beginning but after some time they lose endurance with the sick person and assume he/she is seeking attention or is a hypochondriac.

Marxist approach thinks that the health and social care service treatment services are provided merely to help the bourgeoisies gain income. The Marxist assume that the health and social care and attention of the service users should be managed to allow them to quickly make contact with work in order to make profit for the bourgeoisies. To be able to maintain the cultural hierarchy the government purposely ignores the advertising of products which could harm one's body for example, cigarettes, tobacco etc. In the modern world I really believe the hierarchy is shaped into a pyramid with a few elite at the top handling and manipulating those below that allows the rich to always be the rich and the indegent to be the indegent giving no opportunity for movement in the hierarchy.

Feminist writers believe that the medical job and pharmaceutical companies have given a minimal priority to producing male contraceptive pills which have fewer harmful aspect effects compared to contraceptives utilized by women. This shows that society is exploiting women and increase stress and stress for ladies there by suppressing their abilities and making life beyond family harder so that girls resume their position as a housewife. For example a women experiencing melancholy or nausea at her workplace will perform badly therefore in comparison to males who are performing better and improving result she will seem poor. This obviously shows how modern culture and its medications are purposely packed with side results to marginalise women, so the males could be more dominant.

While Marxist and Socialist Feminist argue that women are not getting the same medications as men. Women have two roles, also called 'dual day' which implies two tasks women have to attempt. To begin with as a housewife, caring for her domestic obligations, and the other as a staff member/employer. Sociologist Doyal shows that it's the fact that women have two tasks in contemporary society, that they getting unwell. Personally I believe it is because of the medication we receive as women, that could otherwise be given to men with far less side effects. It's the because of the lack of consideration and its dependence on male dominance that ladies are suffering.

Even now in this modern day this is of health is not clear. There are two opposing ideas one being that health means the 'lack of disease' the other being 'not only an lack of disease but also circumstances of physical, mental, spiritual and sociable well-being'. The negative principle is the 'absence of disease' which means that the individual must be diagnose with a disease to become unhealthy. However the positive classification which is provided by the 'World Health Firm (WHO)'in 1974;not merely an absence of disease but also circumstances of physical, mental, spiritual and interpersonal well-being' means you do not have to be diagnosed with a disease you could be mentally ill, physically, spiritually, socially, psychologically, or intellectually. Then the health and social care and attention sectors usually take a holistic assessment in order to handle the needs of the 'whole' person alternatively than single issues. (Btec level 3 health and social care reserve 3).

Sociologist Mildred Blaxter taken a large survey and then identified three meanings to health insurance and well-being;

One positive description; 'regarding health as being fit'

Two being a negative description; 'Regarding health as being clear of pain or discomfort

And lastly a functional description; 'regarding health in conditions of being able to perform certain, day-to-day tasks

Concepts of unwell health

Clinical Iceberg

One idea of health is Clinical Iceberg this is a term used to describe unreported health issues. The statistics made by the government and the doctors have a 94% off unreported health issues absent from the information. For example Lyme Disease is one of the best unreported health issues that is unreported. "A survey last month for the Everyman Men Cancer Campaign suggested that nearly two times as many men as women hadn't seen their GP before season. " (http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/magazine/8154200. stm previous reached 22/10/12 18:02) & (http://www. anh-usa. org/lymedisease/ previous utilized 27/12/12 )Then this could be one of the reason why there are so many unreported health problems because men do need see a doctor because the try to surpass the saying of 'men don't cry and they're tough' which means this leads those to think that if indeed they do go directly to the doctors that they are weak.


Impairment is the limitations to your day-to-day activities caused by physical or mental dysfunctions for example Down symptoms; a learning difficultly.


Disability is seen by Tom Shakespeare as limitations that arise for a person with impairments because society does not look at the needs of men and women with impairment for example someone in a steering wheel chair not having ramps in complexes or someone deaf not having hearing aids available. However some people may send this to 'disabling environment' which suggests a host where facilities for the impairments are not available for folks to consider full part in cultural life.

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