Sociological Perspective For Health And Social Care Sociology Essay Example
Sociological Perspective For Health And Social Care Sociology Essay Example

Sociological Perspective For Health And Social Care Sociology Essay Example

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  • Published: August 20, 2017
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Health and societal attention practicians should analyze sociology to derive a better apprehension of the relationships between worlds and the ways in which administrations affect persons. This essay will analyze the sociological positions that may be used by wellness and societal attention practicians to understand the broad scope of subjects within wellness and societal attention. Initially, the history of sociology will be discussed, along with the chief positions that constitute sociology. The connexions between sociology and wellness and societal attention will be outlined so that the reader will understand why this is an of import subject. Following this, a treatment of the Medical Model will be presented, and the subject of wellness inequalities will be introduced. The political docket of wellness and societal attention is so mentioned.

As sociology is the survey of human behavioral interac


tions, there is a great trade of connexion between this societal scientific discipline and subjects within the wellness and societal attention field. How society and societal forces affect the wellness of persons is a pertinent subject for survey for those pupils who wish to prosecute a calling in wellness and societal attention.

Sociological Positions and the History of Sociology

Sociology is a societal scientific discipline that has arisen from theoretical positions in doctrine and political theory. It is scientific in that it uses informations that has been gathered from surveies of human interactions to supply grounds for theories in relation to those interactions. As a subject, sociology has developed otherwise within different civilizations ; for illustration, German sociology diverged dramatically from the remainder of the universe during the Nazi epoch ( Maus, 1962 ) . In kernel, sociology is the survey of how

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society is organised and how persons function within society. Sociology is hence the survey of worlds acting in groups. It portions some similarities with psychological science which is the survey of single human behavior, and each of the societal scientific discipline subjects can feed into the grounds base for the others. Sociology pupils want to understand the construction and kineticss of society and connexions between human behaviors. Forms of societal construction including groups, administrations and communities are examined, every bit good as the interactions within and between these societal constructions, and how they affect individuals’ attitudes and behavior.

There are a figure of positions within sociology, the chief positions being Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism, Interactionism, the New Right, Postmodernism and Collectivism. Some of these positions may unite such as Marxist Feminism ( Whelehan, 1995 ) or Feminist Postmodernism ( Nicholson, 2013 ) . There is no individual overarching position when it comes to sociological theory. Sociologists ask many inquiries about the universe, and societal theory provides replies ; nevertheless, these replies frequently merely work for a peculiar clip, topographic point, and circumstance, and may belie each other ( Ritzer, 1994 ) . The sociology pupil must hence be tolerant of ambiguity and understand that there is frequently non one individual reply to these issues. Some facets of societal theory can be transferred between civilizations and over coevalss, but others may go disused if they are unable to be flexible to alter.


This position is an early version of sociology, looking at the societal construction as a whole and how it functions. Functionalism linked sociology with biological science ( Giddens, 1987 ) in an effort to do what had

been philosophical theory more scientific. Therefore, as with biological beings consisting of cells and systems, in functionalism the society is built on persons and administrations, households and communities. Inequalities in society are seen as helpful to the society as they maintain the system and guarantee the smooth running of societies.


Karl Marx wrote about the inequalities in society, the category battle between the Bourgeoisie ( minority elite ) and Proletariat ( bulk lower class ) . Marx was concerned chiefly with capitalist economy, the work force and the disaffection of the worker from the merchandise, but the Marxist theories can be extended to healthcare, for case, in that many health care systems in the capitalist universe are based around fiscal ability. Even in the UK where we have the National Health Service ( NHS ) , it could be argued that we have a two-tier health care system in that if a individual can afford to, they will entree private medical specialty. Marx was concerned with capitalist economy and how monetary value competition was fierce at the clip he was developing his theory, which drove down the rewards of the laborer ( Ritzer, 1994 ) . This became irrelevant in ulterior old ages as the capitalist system changed and competition was focused on marketing runs instead than monetary value ; nevertheless, the issue has become pertinent once more in recent old ages as low rewards are now an issue once more, and have been linked to poverty steps including hapless wellness and hapless instruction.


Feminism has been conceptualised as a series of moving ridges, in that different coevalss of women's rightists have protested the inequalities in society

between work forces and adult females ( Whelehan, 1995 ) . The feminist position on sociology is that society is ruled by work forces to the hurt of adult females, that society should be more equal ( and modern women's rightists include intersectionalities in their statements sing equality, in that racism, agism and bias against different genders and abilities are besides relevant subjects to discourse ) , and that women’s lives have been ignored by historiographers and sociologists in the yesteryear but could supply valuable penetration. Politically, feminism has had a immense impact, and in footings of wellness and societal attention, there are a great many ways in which taking a feminist position will help in understanding social forces. For illustration, in looking at the function of the carer, which has traditionally been seen as a woman’s function, are female carers really more prevailing than male or is it possible that male carers are ignored because they are non recognised for their lovingness function ( and may non recognize themselves as such ) ? Is the function of the carer belittled by society due to being deemed a female function, or is it chiefly a female function because of its low position? These are the kinds of inquiries that the feminist sociological position would inquire in the wellness and societal attention puting.


Interactionism analyses the behavior and actions of persons in a little societal group. Ideas and actions may develop based on types of interactions between persons. This perspective believes that labelling is used by those in authorization to pigeonhole persons. In a wellness and societal attention context, there could be an analysis of the relationships

between wellness professionals and patients. It is frequently portrayed as being excessively focused on ‘micro’ sociology and unable to gestate ‘macro’ phenomena such as societal construction, forms of inequality and power ( Dennis & A ; Martin, 2005 ) . However, Dennis and Martin argue that there has been a continued involvement in writers such as Foucault and Weber that have contributed to a reclamation of involvements in these subjects, such as the societal procedures through which power is enacted and institutionalized. This is particularly relevant to power relationships in wellness and societal attention scenes, for illustration with respect to institutional maltreatment.

New Right

The New Right is a political theory that arose in the 1980s and 90s and influenced societal and economic policies. It is expressed in individuality and in resistance to the public assistance province. A drive force behind the theory of the New Right is that the public assistance province has created a dependance civilization in that persons no longer experience responsible for their ain wellness and public assistance. The political point of view is a contrast to Marxism and is an advocator of capitalist economy or the free market, with a trust that market forces will predominate to the good of all. A review of this stance is that market forces have been in force for centuries and it was the inequality that these created, with merely those rich plenty to afford wellness attention and a good diet able to populate a long life, that has required intercession by the province.


Modernism is presented as an epoch of survey based on scientific discipline, whereas post-modernism as the name suggests is presented as beyond this

narrow position. Post-modernism argues that the scope of sociological positions such as Functionalism and Marxism can be superseded due to the alterations in society, as people make their ain life style picks and hammer their ain individualities. For illustration, that category individuality is no longer relevant but that other factors are an influence on lives such as gender, age and ethnicity. This position sees the media as an influence in society as it presents an image of how people should act. Post-modernism may hold arisen due to a fractionalisation of society, globalization and an merger of civilizations which has exposed parts of each civilization as being manufactured societal concepts ( Owens, 1985 ) . It may be argued that we are non populating in a post-modern society as at that place remain cultural clangs and inequalities persist. In add-on, critics have argued that post-modernism does non take into history the function of persons or the relationships between societal establishments.


This position is based on the political belief of the corporate society, with corporate ends being more of import than single ends and society holding a greater value than single demands ; hence, each person has a duty to other persons. This is the footing of the public assistance province where persons pay into a communal pot and the money is so given to those who need it, the pot being National Insurance and extended to income revenue enhancement. Those in demand may include kids, older people, people with disablements and those with mental wellness demands. The initial Bolshevism of the NHS when it was originally set up after the Beveridge Report may hold worked in the

‘golden age’ of the wellness service ( O’Hara, 2013 ) , but sits uncomfortably with the more recent consumerism and individuality that has come to characterize the wellness and societal attention services since the 1980s.

The Sociological Imagination

Mills ( 1959 ) developed the construct of the sociological imaginativeness to depict how persons shape society. Each individual has a life, or their single history, which sits within the history of society. Persons are influenced by and hold an impact on their civilization and the wider society. Persons should be seen within the context of society, harmonizing to Mills, so that failure or success of the household or the person can non be understood in the abstract. A alteration to the societal system will intend that individuals’ lives besides change, such as a war making orphans and poorness, the economic state of affairs impacting unemployment. “Neither the life of an single nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both” ( Mills, 1959, p.3 ) . There is, hence, an interaction between the civilization to which persons belong and the personal lives of each one in that civilization.

A feminist return on Mills’ statement is the phrase ‘the personal is political’ , in that it is impossible to speak about facets of a individual which may be considered personal such as lifestyle picks ( e.g. nutrition, exercising, promiscuousness, substance usage ) or wellness determinations ( e.g. abortion, mastectomy ) , without seeing them within the context of the political and cultural background ( Nicholson, 2013 ) . Mills has highlighted the disjunction between life and history, and the deductions are that the individual is blamed for

their weaknesss instead than these being the consequence of their background or a deficiency of pick. Mills’ sociological imaginativeness challenges the claim that jobs are based in personal weaknesss and reminds us that for many people, the jobs are due to social inequalities and force per unit areas ( Guearrero, 2005 ) .

The Medical Model

For an apprehension of the wellness of persons and how to care for them, one of the most of import sociological positions is a review of the medical theoretical account and its options. The medical theoretical account is the Western scientific attack to medicate, of looking at a disease or status on its ain without mention to other facets of the person who is sing the job ( Borrell-Carrio , Suchman & A ; Epstein, 2004 ) . The medical theoretical account focuses on the construction and map of the organic structure, an attack to wellness which may be seen as functionalist and is the footing of policies and pattern of the NHS.

The focal point with this theoretical account will be the abnormalcies of individuals’ organic structures, biological factors which explain unwellness and physical scrutinies, observations and trials conducted by trained wellness professionals, with interventions being medicines and technological intercessions. The wellness attention environments that are seen as appropriate topographic points to undergo interventions may be clinical, de-personalised and rather scaring to persons who are non familiar with this type of environment, which may hinder their recovery. The theoretical account sees illness as impermanent and reversible, with the intercession of medical expertness being able to supply a remedy. Within the medical theoretical account, wellness is seen as the absence of disease,

which is a functionalist position. The World Health Organisation ( WHO ) has defined positive wellness as a province of complete physical, mental, societal, religious wellness and well-being, instead than simply the absence of disease.

The trust on prescription medicine has led to an attitude within the medical profession and society as a whole that every job has a solution and that there is a individual medical intercession that will handle them and decide their issues. This attitude may forestall the person from seting the attempt into altering their life style, or the professional from reding this. Although in many instances medicine is appropriate, there are jobs that have arisen from the trust on medicine, such as the over-prescription of antibiotics, which may be due to GPs overrating symptoms every bit good as reacting to patient outlooks ( Akkerman, Kuyvenhoven, new wave der Wouden & A ; Verheij, 2005 ) . Issues that may be considered as societal in beginning, such as alcohol addiction and some mental wellness jobs, have been medicalised, which has been criticised as shockable and unsafe ( Read, 2004 ) . Social jobs could be addressed by societal agencies instead than medicating or enforcing restrictive intervention. Even conditions that are natural and normal such as gestation and childbearing have been pathologised within the medical theoretical account ( Van Teijlingen, 2005 ) .

It is by concentrating on the biological, and by disregarding the person as a whole, that perpetuates disease and fails patients and service users. Understanding the connexions between an individual’s life history and their current wellness is an of import portion of naming and handling the individual. Information about the person’s

civilization, religious beliefs, fiscal position and physical wonts may hold an impact on their wellness and would be of import information to take into history when giving wellness advice, but concentrating strictly on the biological position of the individual means that this non-biological information might be missed.

An option to the medical theoretical account is the bio-psycho-social theoretical account of wellness ( Borrell-Carrio , Suchman & A ; Epstein, 2004 ) . This theoretical account is an attack to wellness and unwellness that takes into history the environmental and societal factors that may act upon the wellness and good being of the single including lodging, diet and nutrition, economic and fiscal affairs and other environmental factors such as pollution, overcrowding, heavy urbanization or, in contrast, the deficiency of substructure in rural countries. There are many facets of an individual’s environment and life that will impact their wellness and well-being. There are preventable deceases in modern Western society that are linked to personal picks and behavioral factors such as baccy, intoxicant and other substance usage, diet and exercising, whereas in the development universe the inaccessibility of clean H2O is a important factor in high childhood mortality rates.

The review of the medical theoretical account, by taking into account political societal facets of the individual’s environment, can be seen as a Marxist review as it refers to wellness inequalities due to category ( i.e. wealth position ) and as a effect of capitalist economy. Sociologists may reason that the medical profession is powered by the educated upper category elite system, and that they are invested in maintaining lower categories in the work force and keeping the position quo with

the category system. The holistic or bio-psycho-social theoretical account of illness contrasts with the autocratic theoretical account of nearing unwellnesss as sets of biological systems entirely. An illustration of seeing the whole person would be if a individual was enduring from malnutrition and the physician merely prescribed medicine for this without looking at the person’s fiscal or psychological province. This would be a barrier to their recovery if the ground for their malnutrition was that they could non afford nutrient or were curtailing their consumption by pick.

Health Inequalities and Disability

It has been known for some clip that there are inequalities in wellness ; for illustration, life anticipation in certain geographical countries is much lower than in others ( Mackenbach, Karanikolos & A ; McKee, 2013 ) . Poverty is a large factor in wellness results, as it is correlated with a figure of other issues including hapless lodging, nutrition and instruction, limited entree to wellness attention, fittingness and advice. From a Marxist point of position, hapless wellness is caused straight by capitalist economy, as with a different social construction there would be no poorness.

The medical theoretical account has treated disablement as debatable on an single degree, with a focal point on how people with disablements can suit into society, with governments make up one's minding where handicapped people should populate, work and attend school ( Dare & A ; O’Donovan, 2002 ) . This is a negative focal point because although it can assist with interventions and surgery, it encourages dependance and reduces autonomy. The societal theoretical account of disablement shows how people with disablements are non a job to be resolved, but that society

is disenabling due to barriers that are put in topographic point to except those persons with disablements from to the full take parting. It has arisen in portion due to disablement rights activism. In the societal theoretical account, everyone should be free to entree installations and exercise their rights, so that edifices are altered to be accessible and public paperss available in a assortment of formats, with alterations to the workplace including physical alterations and challenges to favoritism and inappropriate linguistic communication usage ( Dare & A ; O’Donovan, 2002 ) .

Sociologists are interested in the manner that social attitudes have changed over the last decennaries towards people with disablements. Some persons may non hold received equal wellness attention in the yesteryear as they were considered to be excessively handicapped and non deserving salvaging. For illustration, people with Down Syndrome had a life anticipation of 12 old ages in the 1940s in comparing to 60 old ages in present twenty-four hours developed states ( Bittles, Bower, Hussain & A ; Glasson, 2006 ) . This is an affectional subject and is a presentation that inequalities in wellness exist and are non merely related to fiscal capablenesss.

For those pupils who wish to prosecute a calling in societal attention, the theoretical accounts of disablement are an of import sociological subject. Although they may non be every bit obvious as the instance of Down Syndrome described above, there remain elusive opinions and biass among society, if non the medical profession itself, sing who deserves wellness attention. Health and societal attention can be seen in a political context, and the ways in which wellness subjects are represented in the

media and by politicians can be viewed from a sociological position. The current argument environing the Liverpool Care Pathway, for illustration, is presented by the media as cruel and a manner of rapidly extinguishing those patients who can non afford private alleviative attention.


This essay has discussed a figure of subjects within the field of wellness and societal attention, where sociological positions are relevant. The chief positions that constitute sociology have been presented, with the Medical Model and how this impacts on the intervention of patients. Health and societal attention can be seen as a political subject, and is on a regular basis discussed in the media. The survey of sociological positions and how these relate to wellness and societal attention may be able to assist make a more classless, healthy society.


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