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The social building of Health and Illness

The social building of Health insurance and Illness


In what ways could it be claimed that health and health issues are socially built? Make reference to sociological theory in your response, and give examples from everyday activity.

This project reviews the idea of social constructivism and its own value to Today's sociable construction of Health insurance and Illness, and how health and Illness are perceived and interpreted by society. This paper will explore different aspects to the interpersonal constructionist issue, on both of the most crucial aspect such as "problematisation", but usually concentrating on "medicalisation". It will explore the macro-social factors, ethnic aspects, the socio-economic conditions that may be some of the fundamental areas of the structure of both Health insurance and Illness. It will also focus on analyzing the terminology and the etymology of the words and how it transformed its interpretation historically.

The social development of Health insurance and Illness


A social eyesight of medicine seems to move attention to the promotion and information of health, on the interpersonal, cultural, political and monetary health in terms of factors and parameters with regards to each other without forgetting that the guts is the average person. It is in this point of view that relational sociology intends to check out health in a post-modern certainty in where the values appear to move constantly toward individualism systemic, a need for efficiency, a multiplication of the roles of the sociable actor.

Social Constructivism

I would like to begin this assignment with a good example of what social building of health is. From Iconic details of the Iliad and the Odyssey, we can understand the significant understanding of the Epoch on the ancient pathologies. Omer explains the fractures of the Femur, with very medicalised conditions very accurate information but most importantly he runs on the very significant metaphor to describe the condition of health as the pleasure and strive of Ulysses when he position a land like the restoration from a sickness.

Ulysses is a mature man, a guy that suffered a whole lot but most significantly a man that depended on venturing, we can relate with Ulysses inside our Modern and contemporary lives.

Ulysses comes home to not go back, so he doesn't get accepted and not to recognize. The Return of Ulysses is the Quest, not his getting, like this the individual looks and strives for health as a definitive experience inasmuch as health doesn't appear to be an ideal state but rather a engineering, of a reality.

"The sociology of knowledge must concern itself with whatever goes by for "knowledgeё in a modern culture, regardless of the ultimate validity or invalidity (by whatever requirements) of such "knowledge". (Berger, P. L. and T. Luckmann, 1971. pp. 15), "To understand the express of the socially produced universe at any given time, or its change over time, one must understand the public organization that allows the definers to do their defining. Put just a little crudely, it is essential to keep forcing questions about the historically available conceptualizations of simple fact from the abstract "What?ё to the socially concrete "Says who?ё (Berger, P. L. and T. Luckmann, 1966),

The communal constructionist question is one of the most important in social science analyses of health and illness. It really is part of a crucial method of biomedicine and biomedical knowledge that emerged in the 1970s. Lots of the assumptions and values of the medical vocation and biomedicine were challenged and criticised for being constant with the patriarchal and capitalist set ups of the society in which these were located.

From this emerged an anti-psychiatry movement which argued that a lot of that which was labelled a mental condition was simply a social development created by psychiatrists who acted as powerful realtors of interpersonal control.

Diagnosing someone as schizophrenic for example, allowed psychiatrists to declare that person unfit to take part fully in communal life. Diagnostic categories were called into question and the use of medical knowledge was seen as being political and not just a technically neutral work.

These ideas in the interpersonal constructionist argument have been applied to question the assumptions which biomedicine's autonomous and extremely powerful position in culture is situated.

There are a number of different aspects to the interpersonal constructionist argument, two of the main are "problematisation" and "medicalisation".

This approach says that diseases aren't simply real but are products of social reasoning and cultural practices. Calling a set of symptoms "bronchitis" does not mean that a discrete disease exits as an entity 3rd party of social context.

That is how medical science at a given place and time with the aid of laboratory tests and theories has come to explain it. Someone with bronchitis will experience pain and fighting but the interpretation of it will differ between time and place.

In this sense then the idea of medical discoveries is misleading. A couple of no permanent realities of our body hanging around to be observed. You will discover fabrications or inventions by biomedicine which implies that the condition was proven through certain investigations which affirmed its certainty.

It is indirectly related to public constructionism - it generally does not question the foundation of medical knowledge so but troubles its software. It draws attention to the actual fact that medicine runs as a powerful institution of sociable control. It does this by boasting expertise about concerns of life which had recently not been regarded as medical things e. g. ageing, childbirth, liquor consumption and child years behaviour.

Social development of Health insurance and Illness

Health will not qualify as confirmed, but a map and a construct produced by coordinating various details of view. As disease, health is a model, socially made, to interpret fact. So health, can be configured as an event, that the average person can use to interpret the planet and human relationships with the culture in which he lives: a repertoire of symptoms that the cultural actor may use to interpret the social order.

So the disenchantment of the world, due to erosion of traditional paradigms, leaves the individual alone, and then represent themselves in different roles where he is called by many of the company.

The explanation of health insurance and the promotion of health itself exceeds the model, as they say, ideal health, what which is constituted as the absence of disease: health becomes a condition which has an almost unconscious, seems coincide with the flow of life.

The disease, as agent that inhibits this flow, it appears uncovering it as a lost condition. This model of the relationship between health insurance and disease seems be that prevailing paradigms in medical and health facilities.

The reasoning seems to characterize the medical paradigms seems develop relating to a complex system of different modes:

  • The first setting is the linear one when a given injury causes an illness condition and treatment turn into a system in spot to repair the damage had.
  • The second way is the individualistic : health insurance and disease are dependant on absence / presence of resources in the average person and care form interventions aimed exclusively to the individual.
  • The Previous is the a-historical: it ignores the conversation of the individual along with his environment, its culture, its history, its social condition.

In this route, macro-social factors, ethnic differences, events external and extreme, the socio-economic conditions, the lack of a adequate communal support, the relational environment against, are, factors totally or relatively in addition to the characteristics biological or mental of a person. (Canguilhem, 1988; Stern, 1927; White, 1991a; Zinsser, 1935).

The micro-social contexts and macro-social have a crucial role in the onset and evolution health status of people.

The systems of associations can foster the creation of informal mechanisms of safeguard against disease and later years or, through the activation of collective action, can increase the efficiency and performance of the provision of certain services by the general public sector.

Kleinman (1980) has suggested a differentiation between etymologies: disease, which refers to abnormalities in the composition or operation of organs and systems, and that is the area of the biomedical model; health problems, which is refers to the individual conception of circumstances that has a negative connotation and which includes, but is not limited to disease; sickness, indicating the events that may become disease or illness.

The term health problems should make reference to the direct experience of sick, the knowledge of the condition, while the disease is indicated conceptualization of the condition by the physician. Therefore, there is a difference between being ill and having a disease, a difference that in the German terms is perceived as Erkrankung and Krankheit, had a need to introduce an additional term, sickness, indicating the understanding of the condition by area of the sociable non-medical.

Precisely in this perspective Young (2004, p. 26), discovering the social building of the condition, suggested the further specs by the term sickness, which will not seem to be to be simply an ambiguous term that defines the was among the biological damage and the subjective conception of the destruction.

The disease-sickness is usually to be understood just as fact the process by which, in do of concern and natural symptoms, is given a so this means socially recognizable and, therefore, suitable.

Every culture has, relating to Young (2004), the rules for "transforming" symptoms of the body in the symptoms, to hook up the symptoms in a model etiological and treatment.

The disease-sickness, then, appears to be an activity for socializing disease and disease-illness. Precisely the same set of indications, for example, can match, and different types of medical diagnosis and therapy. May be the causative prominent model in that population that "chooses" the type of disease the average person has and what will be the appropriate therapy.

The disease-sickness, also determines the size of individual of the disease. But it is culture that can determine which symptoms give consideration, when it's authentic to feel bad so when it is not.

The role of Medicalisation

Medicine constructs or redefines aspects of 'normal' or accepted everyday activity as medical problems. Experts have a tendency to offer scientific or biomedical solutions to what exactly are inherently 'normal' areas of everyday routine or interpersonal problems. Medicine has become a major organization of public control and this has been related to a growing organic and bureaucratic system which stimulates a larger reliance on experts.

High-tech modern medicine has become more and more dangerous to the population's health by:

  • reducing their autonomy and their capability to cope with their problems;
  • making them dependent on the medical vocation;
  • damaging their health by the medial side ramifications of drugs and surgical interventions;

The medical system works in close relationship with the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, which relationship is not necessarily in the patient's interest. (Illich, I. 1977)

Inherent in the medicalization thesis are Marxist and Phenomological approaches to health and disorder. This thesis considers explanations of health issues to be products of public interactions or discussions which can be unequal because people do not have equal impact on the cultural construction of certainty. Medical professionals are more able to define what counts as sickness than standard people. Medical professionals, therefore, have great scope for social rules because if concerns need to be thought as medical concerns, then medical researchers have the power to screen, intervene and complete judgements after them.

A common construction of the reason for disease portrayed inside our culture, especially the theory that lifestyles are easily chosen, individualizes and obscures the way in which disease is socially produced.

The conceptualization of medicine as the use of 'goal', 'scientific' knowledge to a purely natural body, obscures how diseases are stated in set ups of inequality that are cultural that are mainly predicated on school, gender, or ethnicity.

At the centre of most sociological accounts of treatments is the discussion that medical knowledge performs cultural functions independently of whether it remedies and heals. Medical knowledge and tactics are social achievements, and not the inevitable results of technology or dynamics.


The sociological point of view on remedies seems target its attention to the info and campaign of health, on the cultural, social, economical and politics health in conditions of factors and variables in relation to the other person without excluding that the center is the average person. It is in this perspective that relational sociology intends to look at health in a post-modern fact in where the values appear to move consistently toward individualism systemic. The micro-social contexts and macro-social have an essential role in the onset and progression health status of individuals.


Albrecht, Gary L. , Fitzpatrick, Ray and Scrimshaw, Susan C. (eds) (2000) Handbook of Community Studies in Health and Treatments. London: Sage

Berger, P. L. and T. Luckmann (1966), The Social Construction of Simple fact: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Garden City, NY: Anchor

Conrad, P. (ed. ) (2001) The Sociology of Health insurance and Disease: Critical Perspectives. New York:

Conrad, P. and Barker, K. (2010) 'The public Construction of Illness: Key insights and insurance policy implications' Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 51(S) 67-79

Dausset J. , La remedies predictive et boy ethique, in Pathologie et Biologie, 1997, pp. 199-204.

Freund, P. and McGuire, M. (1999) Health, Health issues and the Friendly Body. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Illich, I. (1977). Restricts to treatments: Medical nemesis: the Exploration of health. NY: Penguin

Young, J. T. (2004), "Illness Behaviour : A Selective Review and Synthesis", Sociology of Health insurance and Illness, 26, 1:1-31

White, Kevin (2002). White, Kevin (2002). An launch to the sociology of health and disorder. SAGE. p. 42. SAGE. p. 42.


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