SOCA1200 Health Sociology

Table of Contents


Talk about Health Management


Sociology is a discipline that studies society and social life.

Sociology is the study of society as a whole, including its origins, networks, institutions and developments (Keirns, et al. 2013, 2013).

Sociology can also be used to study human health.

It evaluates how society interacts with health problems (Keirns and co-authors, 2013).

Keirns and colleagues (2013) state that while most people view health from a biomedical or biological perspective, it is not possible to assume the importance of social factors in human health.

Sociology tends to identify other factors that can lead to illness, in addition to the biological/natural causes.

These include socioeconomic, cultural, and religious factors (Keirns, et al. 2013, 2013).

This paper’s primary purpose is to examine the social determinants and health from both a functionalist and a Marxist perspective.

The paper also aims to demonstrate how these differ from the medical model.

Sociology has two main approaches to the study of sickness and health (Weiss & Lonnquist 2015).

Sociology attempts to address illness by using sociological perspectives.

Sociology studies the social constructions of health and disease, as well as the experiences of illness.

Sociology plays an important role in multidisciplinary research, particularly on issues that are fundamental to clinicians and other healthcare professionals (Purnell, et al. 2016).

Purnell and colleagues (2016) also argue that sociology has a significant influence on the development of health-related policies as well as contributing to epidemiological research.

Sociology, on the other hand allows for better understanding of social processes and their impact on individual health as well as the health of social groups.

These processes include risk and consumption, power, knowledge, power, and relationships, as well as self-identity, change, and professional relationships.

Functionalist theory focuses on the importance of stability and cooperation in society (Willis 2015).

The theory also emphasizes the important role played by social events in order to increase the continuity of society.

The theory’s proponents liken the society to an organism. (Willis 2015 ).).).

The whole is viewed as a combination of all parts that are integrated.

Integration is also perceived as the result of a shared consensus on values and norms.

To explain the social determinants that affect health and illness, functionalists use the analogy of a biological organism.

These determinants include: availability and accessibility to resources, access health care services, support, crime exposure, violence, social disorder, public safety, education, job opportunities, and economic.

Parsons, who is one of the main contributors to functionalist theories, identifies illness as a social event that occurs in addition to a physical condition (Frank 2013, 2013).

Functionalists define health as the state where an individual is able to fulfill his/her role effectively.

Frank, 2013, states that “sickness” is when an individual fails to fulfill these roles because of illness.

Functionalist theory states that good health is essential for society’s smooth operation because it allows individuals to fulfill their roles (Willis 2015).

Inability to fulfill roles is caused by illness.

When certain roles are not fulfilled, the society is at risk.

Parsons views illness as an act of deviance that causes disruption to the normal functioning society (Willis 2015).

A functionalist view of illness is that a person who is sick cannot be productive.

Non-productivity should therefore be treated by medical professionals as a sign of dysfunction or deviance.

Therefore, the medical system and medical professionals have a duty to treat, prevent and cure those illnesses that hinder the performance of social actions and norms.

Adler (2016) and Cutler (2016) both believe that illness poses a threat to the social structure and the roles that help it (the social structure).

Parsons emphasizes the role of the sick in explaining these threats.

There are four components to the sick role.

First, the sick person is exempt from all social obligations and roles.

The sick person is not liable for their illness.

The third is that the sick person has to ensure that they get well.

Fourth, the sick must seek the appropriate help and follow the instructions of their health provider.

A person who fails to follow the rules of sick status is considered a deviant and cannot be deemed sick.

A high school student is preparing to become an attorney. This is social theory at work.

The student in this example knows that to realize his/her dream, he/she must pass a test and apply to a college vacancy.

The student must work hard to earn the highest grade possible in order to be allowed to apply to law school.

He/she will be able to realize the dream of becoming an Attorney.

The student must also be aware that failing to do well at college will hinder his/her chances of becoming an attorney.

The student must work hard to reach his/her goal.

Marxist perspective is the second sociological perspective, which offers equally detailed information on the social determinants and health.

The literature on the social determinants and health is growing (Adler & Cutler 2016, 2016).

This literature has greatly contributed to our understanding of the interconnectedness between health and class.

The centrality of material production is a major concept of Marxist thought (Cockerham 2014).

Production includes even the most basic human needs, such as shelter, clothing and food.

It includes the production of many commodities in modern society.

The medical sector uses the Marxist perspective because it gives a background that explains how illnesses are inherited.

Cockerham (2014) argues that the performance of capitalist economic systems has a significant impact on the health outcomes of the population.

This influence is also felt at two levels.

Health is directly or indirectly affected at the first level.

Health is directly affected by stress and industrial-related diseases.

Indirectly, the effects of modern capitalist production on health are the most significant (Weiss & Lonnquist 2015).

Environmental pollution can have a negative impact on health.

Consuming processed commodities can also have adverse effects on your health.

The distribution scale has a significant impact on health.

The income and wealth of an individual determine their living standards (Weiss & Lonnquist 2015).

Wealth and income are the main factors that determine access to education, housing, health facilities, recreation opportunities, and nutrition.

These factors are fundamental to the social blueprint for health.

Many transformations have been made in the health sector by social determinants of healthcare (Benach et. al.

In fact, public health and health promotion have moved away from biomedical and behavioural approaches to diseases.

Both the former and the latter were previously cited as major causes of disease. These included genetic traits, individual choice, health inequalities, as well as individual characteristics (Ng, Muntaner, 2014).

Social determinants of Health seeks to link poor health outcomes with poverty and low income.

Ng (2014) and Muntaner (2014) argue that communities with high levels of poverty and low income tends to have higher rates for individuals suffering from mental illness, chronic and infectious diseases, severe wear and tear on the bodies, and economic deprivation.

Marx’s social determinants do not address the mechanisms that create economic and social inequalities (Ng and Muntaner 2014).

It has been also ignored that the rich exploit the poor.

To understand the social determinants and health of health, one must consider the Marxist perspective (Cockerham 2014).

Cockerham (2014) states that achieving both would lead to a universally responsive health care system.

The biomedical model does not include social determinants of health.

The biomedical model for health is based on a person’s ability to function normally and can be used to assess one’s current condition (Chambers. Feero. & Khoury. 2016).

Chambers and his colleagues define disease as the presence of sickness or illness.

Chambers, Feero and Khoury also consider disease to be a result of physical or natural causes, such as infection or injury.

The model does not recognize the social or psychological factors.

The biomedical model relies on biomedical change as its defining characteristic (Strickland and Patrick, 2015).

These changes can be definable and measurable, and they can also be isolated.

In this instance, the focus is on the dysfunction of organs and tissues, rather than the general condition of the patient (Strickland, Patrick, 2015).

Strickland & Patrick (2015) also believe that treatment for biomedical conditions should be based on the elimination of the causes.

This model is based on the belief that all illnesses are temporary and thus can be treated (Tuckett 2013, 2013).

It is also entirely a condition of the body.

It is clear that both the Marxist and functionalism sociological perspectives provide a detailed analysis of the social determinants to health.

The social model examines the impact of lifestyle, economic and environmental factors on a person’s health.

This refers to the way that people behave when taking on health-related risks or making decisions about their health care.

This approach is different from the biomedical model, which focuses on the biological and pathological causes.

This model considers factors outside of the biological process, such as gender, wealth and income.

Both models can be used to determine the causes of disease and offer solutions.

It is crucial to take into account both the causes and treatments of a disease when diagnosing it.

The whole reliance on one model can hinder the diagnosis and constrain treatment.

Refer to

The Social Determinants and Health of Human Beings

Understanding precarious employment as a social determinant for health.

Annual review of public Health, 35, 229-253.


A new model of science, precision medicine, learning health care: Science, technology, and the future of medicine.

Biomedical research.

Medical sociology.

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

From the sick role to health and illness practices.

Medical education

Introduction to Sociology.

Rice University, OpenStax College

Critical approach to macrosocial determinants

Population health: incorporating scientific realism into the discussion and social conflict.

Current Epidemiology Reports 1(1), 27-37.


Implications of social determinants.

Prevention, policy and public health, 1993. Strickland, C. M. & Patrick C. J.

Biomedical Model.

The Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology.

An introduction to medical sociology.

Sociology of healing and illness.

Talcott Parsons: His legacy, and the sociology and sociology of illness and health.


The Palgrave handbook for social theory in medicine, health, and illness (pp.

Palgrave Macmillan UK.

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