Critically evaluate the contribution made by sociologists to our understanding of health and illness

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Critically evaluate the contribution made by sociologists to our understanding of health and illness
Sociology, the study of society and social behaviour of groups, at various levels and from different perspectives, from solid interpretations to generalisations. It can vary from the study of two individuals encounter to the analysis of global social processes. There are three main areas of sociology, social structures such as education, family and social stratification, social systems for example culture and identity and social issues such as the causes of crime and the impact of unemployment. It is difficult to define society, other than as a number of people who live in the same territory, participate in common culture and are
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Alvin Gouldner (1971) argues that functionalism ignores the extent to which people are coerced in society to do things they do not wish to do. It is a deterministic perspective which sees human behaviour as shaped by the social system’s needs, making no allowances for the individuals’ free-will and choice. This approach views health with a negative concept and is essentially concerned with the theme of the sick role and the associated issue of illness and behaviour, health becomes a prerequisite for the smooth functioning of society. “The model of the sick role, which Talcott Parsons designed in the 1950s, was the first theoretical concept that explicitly concerned medical sociology .In contrast to the biomedical model, which pictures illness as a mechanical malfunction or a microbiological invasion, Parsons described the sick role as a temporary, medically sanctioned form of deviant behaviour” (www.ucel.ac.uk). Talcott Parsons (1951) argues that illness is socially defined in terms of the sick role, based upon two right and two obligations; the right to be exempt from normal social obligations such as work, the right to be absolved from blame, The obligation to try and get well and the obligation to seek medical help for a condition, the doctor therefore acting as a gatekeeper. “Parson used ideas from Freud’s psychoanalytic theories as well as from functionalism and from

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