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What Would Functionalists Say About Health e.g. the Sick Role? What Would Marxists Say About Health e.g. Inequality And The Physical And Mental Causes Of ill Health

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Introduction

Choose Two Out Of The Following Four To Explain Different Concepts In Health (M1) * What Would Functionalists Say About Health e.g. the Sick Role * What Would Marxists Say About Health e.g. Inequality And The Physical And Mental Causes Of ill Health * What Would Feminism Say About Health e.g. The Causes Of Eating Disorders And Stress * What Would Interactionists Say About Health e.g. Stigma and Labelling Attached To Mental Health I have chosen the following two and will now look at them in more detail: * What Would Functionalists Say About Health e.g. the Sick Role? * What Would Marxists Say About Health e.g. Inequality And The Physical And Mental Causes Of ill Health What Would Functionalists Say About Health e.g. the Sick Role Talcott Parsons is one of the key functionalist sociologists, in 1951 he developed the argument that being sick is not simply a state of fact or condition but a specifically patterned social role. Parsons argued that in Western society the sick role implies four major expectations, two rights and two duties. "The Rights are: * The sick person is temporarily exempt from "normal" social roles. The more severe the sickness, the greater the exemption * The sick person is not generally held responsible for their condition and so is usually not blamed. A person's illness is usually considered to be beyond their control and not curable simply by will power or motivation. ...read more.

Middle

of disease that those who have been afflicted by them have been denied care or even persecuted: * Epilepsy * Leprosy * Syphilis * AIDS A final criticism of Parson's theory is that Parson's model fits acute illness rather than chronic. Getting better is not an expectation of chronic conditions such as diabetes. In chronic cases, acting as the sick person is not always appropriate and less functional for both the individual and the social system. Whereas the acutely sick person is relieved of their normal responsibilities and encouraged into dependency, a more appropriate response to the chronically sick or impaired is to encourage them to continue their social role as far as they are able. What Would Marxists Say About Health e.g. Inequality And The Physical And Mental Causes Of ill Health? Marxists divide society into classes, which are linked to the economic base of the society. With regard to health and the social welfare system in general, the Marxist perspective regards health care and social welfare as a method of preventing revolution, by giving the proletariat adequate health care, housing, education etc, the bourgeoisie are ensuring that Capitalism survives and that the workforce remains healthy enough to work and contented enough not to revolt against the ruling classes. Marxist's also argue that medicine is useful to capitalism as a legitimising force, by defining ill health as an individualistic disease based model and therefore ignoring the structural causes of mental and physical ill health Marxists believe that it is not however the capitalist society that ...read more.

Conclusion

Good health can however be linked to social class, the lower down the class scale an individual falls the greater the chance that the individual will experience mental or physical health problems. These problems can be directly linked to economics, less money means poorer housing, the consumption of cheaper, less healthy foods, greater stress and possibly a greater consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, a manual or physically strenuous job and worse working conditions, which are all contributory factors to poor health. Marxism tends to concentrate on capitalism without actually examining the medical process in addition to this Marxism fails to address the diversity of capitalist systems and how they deal with health, for example in the USA a different system of health care exists, individuals have to take out private health care. "Wilkinson (1996) argues that it is not Capitalism itself that perpetuates inequalities in health but the inequalities in the distribution of wealth, he shows that in societies such as Sweden and Japan, where a more even distribution of wealth exists, all citizens enjoy better levels of health." (M. G. Marmot, 2004, The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health) Marxists also claim that health problems are closely tied to unhealthy and stressful work environments. Rather than seeing health problems as the result of individual frailty or weakness, they should be seen in terms of the unequal social structure and class disadvantages that are reproduced under capitalism. ?? ?? ?? ?? Danielle Lant 16th May, 2008 1 ...read more.

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