Sociology perspectives for health and social care

In this essay I plan to explore and explain the principal sociological perspectives of the different types of perspectives: Functionalism is a macro approach it contains a variety of institutions in society and how they are all dependent on each other; if one begins to fail it effects the rest of society. It is often referred to like ‘the human body’ society being the body and the organizations being the organs. When the organs (organizations) begin to fail due to deviant behaviour it effects the body (society) which can be fixed.

Sociologist analysis the institutions of society as functioning smoothly and concord; as they contribute clear factors to society to make it function accordingly. Functionalism is beneficial according to (George Murdock 1897-1985) as it consider our values, so when crime or ‘deviant behaviour’ is publicized society comes together in mutual shock and disagreement which is why crime is heavily exposed in the media, Judicial system is heavily exposed as well, so society can carry out their roles and know the norms and laws and achieve that society is running smoothly.

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It also teaches the younger generation appropriate behaviours in society. The formation of boundaries; as society changes individuals become unsure about values and too much uncertainty in the public is bad for social cohesion. So when extreme fashions of deviances enables individuals to create moral boundaries, like sexuality functionalist argue that same sex couples are integrated part of society but should not be frustrated when conflicting their marriage rights, The economic function ensures that family has the reassurance and can provide food, shelter and be financially secured.

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You won’t be charged yet! Functionalism is also been criticised for no tackle the areas of conflict which have moulded the modern society. They are very vague and do not have clear, affirmative effective functions; so they portray a ‘rosy picture’ of the institutions. They also base their ideas all associates in societies share and agree on the same values and beliefs, and this value consensus does not grasp the socialisations processes and the workings of the main institutions.

Functionalism in health and social care portray doctors having an important role in society (Talcott Parson 1951) as they have power and can dictate the amount of time an individual can have time off work and family ablutions. Illness is due to deviant behaviour which interrupts work and family life. Parson concludes that when an individual is ill they take the ‘sick role’ this is when the individual is prevented from functioning their role in society and is allowed to get better, however, they are obliged to get better and ensue what the doctor instructs them to do. Marxism is a macro approach it is very conflicting and structuralise model, Karl Marx (1818-1883) unlike functionalism, Marxism looks the battle of 2 classes the Proletarian (a large poor group of individuals who have sold their labour and are exploited and taken advantage by the bourgeoisie) and the Bourgeoisie/Capitalists (a small powerful group who owned the factories, land and other large organisations, they are able to control the economy and societies institutions to their own advantages as they have power and money.) It seems that the asymmetrical and variance relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariats will result in conflict and will be adapted into the economic system.

The mass power and manipulation that the bourgeoisie has on society influences education and curriculum taught in schools, socialisations development and the values and stances, unlike a common value system of functionalism. The proletariats are being taken advantage of by the bourgeoisie by false consciousness, which is the outlooks and certainty by the proletariats are not aware that they are labouring to serve the needs (create more profit and money) of the bourgeoisie. Marxism is positive as they understood the power of capitalism, and saw the phenomenon signified the potential of humans, the theory is more blunt and harsh that the rosy perspectives of functionalism.

However he does highlight the importance of a family classifying it as a ‘secure emotional base,’ so when workers return home they get refreshed and rested. But due to the annoyance, frustration and disempowerments they get at work and from the bourgeoisies they will take it out on their family (domestic violence). Marxism is criticised for being too narrow minded and focusing on the conflict of the two social classes, and even though there is this higher hierarchy hygiene and living conditions have improved, employers and employees can have common interest, society has changed and now is driven by other applications and ambitions.

Marxism in health and social care is that the medical professions can only do well for the capitalist class, as they keep the inequalities going. Also medical professions have a conservative role in society. The doctors keep the workforce healthy and productive, the healthier the workers they can work harder and be less absents due to illness resulting in a greater profits for the capitalist class. Doctors ensure that workers are not spending too much time off work due to poor health and dictate how long a worker can take off work. Marxist consider that doctors are the real cause of illness: poverty, class, inequalities by focusing on the individual physical symptoms and not take into account the social factors. They also believe that doctors are agents of large drugs conglomerates as health care mainly produces profits from drug companies.

Feminism is a macro approach and is divided into three categories: Marxist feminism, radical feminism ad liberal feminism. Marxist feminism is more relevant for those women who feel oppressed by capitalism, or patriarchal society. They meet the physical, emotional and social needs of their children to prepare them in the life in the factor. These women support their partners, do domestic duties and are subjugated by their partner and subsidising industries. The family unit would not function if the women did not take on the primary responsibility. Marxist feminists are criticised for all exploitations being capitalised, economic sphere and not enough awareness have gone into domestic sphere.

And that that all exploitation is capitalism and patriarchy capitalism is more major description of female’s exploitation and oppression. Radical feminism believe that women are exploited due to the patriarchy which is an institution of authority of male dominance, sexuality and personal relationships. They see the family as a patriarchal institution as society sees women to be housewives and mothers as a form of despotism which is characterised in the nuclear family. Radical feminists do not want women to be treated the same as men, but their difference to be conceded, and at the same time be equally valued.

Radical feminists have been criticised for not defining the establishment of ‘sex class’ and not all women share the view on a class apart from men, and the emancipation of men would make the economy struggle and demoralized, they also failed to acknowledge that working and upper class women do not share common interests; radical feminist did not taken into account that society, economics and political changes has happen in society, and they have relegate significant ideas like social classes and ethnicity. Liberal feminism consider that improvements in the future will persist through legislation and policies like sex discrimination and equal pay act.

And that society’s attitudes towards women will change and carry on changing throughout the future. Liberal feminism have been criticised for focusing on equal opportunity between the sexes and have neglected the factors of social structures. And their failure to appreciate that in every society is fundamentally unequal within the economy and social structure of equal opportunity. All three tie in together as they all gave women rights and a say and as society changed they allowed women to have more rights.

Feminism in health and social care argue that the conceptive methods are designed for men and women but men do not use them therefore women have to put up with significant health risks that men would certainly not put up with. Oakley (1984) claims that childbirth has been medicalised and male doctors are responsible not the midwife or women giving birth. In the medical world women are given the subordinate roles like a nurse or auxiliary nurse, and are the doctor’s handmaid, while the men are consultants. Feminists say cosmetic surgery is a ‘mediatisation of beauty’ and is social control over women, and treatments and diagnosis for depression for women is a social control. Interactionism is a micro approach, it view health purely on the individual and how they are being influence by society. Integrationist do not consider outside factors influencing the individual by the individual being influenced by society, affecting their behaviour, language, roles and outline in society.

The main purpose of interactionism is to examine how individuals deduce a situation and how they behave in a small interaction than a larger interaction. Interactionism has been criticised as it does not consider outside affecting the individual like asthma, hay fever etc. They do not consider a wider social spectrum which could influence the individual and paying deficient awareness to the power of society; and these roles do not elucidate why people behave in predictable fashions. However, Interactionism is beneficial it studies how we interpret situations as well as communicate with each other, how we maintain an sense of ourselves and form a sense of self and produce and maintain what we experience in reality in a social situation; Interactionism in health and social care are socially constructed, physical and mental stipulation have no objective but are measured healthy or ill if they are identified as by society, and doctor can predict the situation by their authority and medical knowledge.

Collectivism is a macro approach it supports and offers health and social services that is underpinned by the government. Its dedication is to provide a healthcare to those who are vulnerable. It identified regions of welfare requirements (those who are vulnerable) this may consist of children, older generation, people with physical and mental impairments, and who are prospective vulnerable. In certain societies this may fall on those who are accountable for religious group’s commune or local community. Collectivism is beneficial as it attends to poverty through a wide variety of welfare benefits like family allowance, unemployment, sickness benefit and retirement pension. It aids combating diseases in the NHS, and ignorance through the development secondary education. It eliminates inactivity by supporting development of labour and policies of employment, and demolishment of squalor through building council houses. Collectivism is criticised as this method is financed by taxes and National insurance, it takes a lot of time and money to get a start and is labour intensive, and it is a voluntary organisation.

It is beneficial as it does create a healthy society and reinforces individuals to get a job and independently support themselves and their family. In health and social care collectivism the local government directs charges like medication, and reinforces people to get better and eliminates the chances of getting ill or a chronically ill in more poverty places and lawfully entitled to a healthcare by virtue of being a resident of that nation or country. New right is a macro approach it is found by Charles Murray, it is bases around a conventional family which is under threat as the welfare benefits are demanding and produce a culture of dependency. This is where individuals easily accept benefits then work, and it is ‘underclass’ which is when people live on benefits do not work. In 1980 the new right theory was developed and based around a nuclear family of a mother, a father who is paid and employed and children. It is also alarmed that welfare benefits were received by single mothers; sociologists did not think this was a good idea as children should be bought up in a family of a mother and a father not single parents.

There was a moral panic and fear in social fabric due to this discovery. New right sociologists believe that crime increases and unacceptable social behaviours due to lone parent and step families as couple can access a divorce more easily. In health and social care new right has an increase in birth rates and abortions, due to the amount of single mothers, or step families, this is also a disadvantage plus the quick easy access to a divorce. The new right law in contrast is also beneficial as it takes individuals out of unhappy families which could have caused a more harmful effect. Postmodernism is another macro approach it understands and examines the quick change and uncertainty in our society. They examine how fragmented the social institutions have becomes and how individuals or groups are taken decision of their own lives and becoming more independent, methods like Marxism and Functionalism no longer are modern enough to help understand modern society.

Postmodern views are constantly changing and suggests that we no longer talk about establishments like family, religion or the economy as they are not the same and is not was a ‘typical’ family engages in anymore. The downfall of postmodernism is that the views are always changing, the benefits are that it is a more modernised to our society and as people are taking a more independent attitude they are making their own health care decisions and are not so relent on doctors and may go for alternative treatments . In sociology, sociologist have a different approach to health and illness, I plan to explain they concepts starting with, Negative concept of health can be defined as when an individual is at absent of disease and illness, this concept defined health as being without disease or illness. This approach would be used in the biomedical model.

Negative concept of health also backs up Marxism idea of health and illness, as it only focuses on the individual body and no social influences that could affect it. In contrast Positive concept of health is when the individual may feel well but may have a disease like the early stages of cancer, or a development of a cold. A holistic concept of health is when the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sexual, societal and environmental factors are taken into account which may make the individual ill. This approach would be used in a social medical model, holistic can be identified as a comprehensive range of aspects of health. It could be argued that postmodernist and feminists would appreciate this method of health and illness and it takes all aspects of life which could affect your health. W.H.O (Worlds Health Organization) examines

‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’

(Quote from Functionalism would agree with this method as it is also vague and easier said than done like both methods. However, this fashion of health was too naive and was hard to maintain and needed a more idealistic approach. So W.H.O came up with a more realistic definition of health:

‘Health is the extent to which an individual or group is able on the one hand, to realise aspirations and satisfy needs and on the other hand, to change or cope with the environment. Health is, therefore seen a resource for everyday life, not the object of living: it is positive concept emphasising social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities’

(Quoted from Illness is when there is a feeling associated with the loss of health, disease is the presence of some abnormalities in the body that can be detected and identified. It is possible for an individual to be diseased and feel well like a women going in for a screening which may portray that she has breast cancer. And others may feel ill and have no diagnoses to account for their symptoms like: anxiety disorders, OCD, PTS, social anxiety disorder, phobias and depression. Illness and disease slips in and out of each category example: Feels well + no disease= positive health

Feels well+ disease found=medically unhealthy, personally feels unhealthy negative health Feels ill+ no disease=medically healthy, personally feels unhealthy Feels ill+ disease found=medically and personally unhealthy Disability is when a disease may lead to impairment like a sudden death, stroke, tumour. This may be an impairment of physical, psychological or anatomical function. A disability can cause a lack of mobility and restrict the individual from activities. Dysfunctions is a hindrance for that person as it prevents them from achieving or fulfilling their ablutions taking into account their age, gender, social status and religious factor. The clinical iceberg is the population of society who is seeking, attending or not attending or seeking alternative treatments of health care

At the top of the iceberg represent the individuals who are attending secondary care. The middle of the iceberg represent the individuals who are attending or waiting for primary health care, the bottom of the iceberg represent the individuals who are ill but are no seeking medical advice or they are seeking alternative treatment. These reasons could be because they are embarrassed, they have no transport, they do not think that their illness is not serious enough, they are too ill, they are not being truthful in how serious it is this could be due to gender roles, class, or they cannot get time off work. I conclude that the clinical iceberg is useful for all perspectives as there is themes in the method that is relevant to the. Sociologists view health deeper than absence of illness, there is two types of models that explain health and illness in society.

Biomedical model defines ‘health’ as a deficient of physical symptom of disease or infections claims that health and disease are natural and physical occurrence. Social medical model defines health and disease as an unhealthy state which is effected by (2) severe physical or social environment that produce a disability where may not occur elsewhere, (3) also it claims that there is deeper meaning to disease that physical symptoms; the biomedical model of health is based in western modern society. It established around the awareness that health and disease are ‘Natural Phenomena’ that only subsist in a distinct body. In contrast the social medical model tests the ideas of wellness and is a common state of affairs; the biomedical model classifies disease as when the body has a physical inaccuracy, and defines health is when the body has an absent of disease. It biologically focuses on the biological errors, and interactions in the social world is not relevant;

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Sociology perspectives for health and social care. (2016, Aug 19). Retrieved from

Sociology perspectives for health and social care

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