Sociological Perspectives on Health. Theories and the effects of income on health.

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The Functionalist perspective intends to explain the way society works in a state of harmony to ensure that functions run smoothly. Talcott Parsons was one theorist saw society as a system made up of several institutions working in sync to provide a better society. Some features the functionalist perspective does not take into consideration are free will and conflict between institutions.  

The Marxist perspective was initially developed by Karl Marx. It was his understanding that all individual behaviour is shaped by the social structure and their clearly defined social classes. The two main social classes are the bourgeoisie, a small group of people that held power, and the proletariat, the larger group of lower class people and “workers”. He believed that these two groups would always suffer from conflict and that this could potentially lead to a revolution. A Marxist would argue that the ruling class gain power through mass media and the legal system to force influence of their views upon the lower class. As with the functionalist perspective Marxism leaves little room for free will and focuses on the inequalities between the two defined social classes.

There are multiple types of feminism three examples of this perspective would be Marxist feminism, radical feminism, and liberal feminism. Marxist feminists see women as inferior in comparison to their husbands and should be responsible for the cooking, cleaning, and caring for the children. They are seen as the ‘producers’ for the next generation of ‘workers’. Radical feminists believe that the women in society as the mothers and housewives that should be dominated by men but not capitalist way. Finally Liberal feminists believe that women and men should be equal in society. The wanted these ideas passed as statutory by changing legislation so there is more enforced equality, such as the Equal Pay Act (1970) and the Sex Discrimination Act (1975).

Symbolic Interactionalists do not focus on large entities but instead focus is on small groups and individual behaviour. Interactionalists believe that a person isn’t affected by the social structure and that they are fully responsible for their own actions.

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Postmodernists believe that structural perspectives, such as Marxism and functionalism, are unable to aid us in understanding our society as it is in a constant state of change and is unpredictable. They believe that individuals and groups of people have the ability make their own decisions but can be, to some extent, affected by external influence.

The New Right perspective is essentially a political response to the role of government in our society and the welfare system. They believe that people should be self sufficient and take responsibility for themselves and their families.

The functionalist perspective sees ...

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