How Valuable Is Sociological Knowledge in Contributing to Our Understanding of Contemporary Health Issues?

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How valuable is sociological knowledge in contributing to our understanding of contemporary health issues? Sociological knowledge assists understanding of how social issues impact on health and illness experiences in society (Barry & Yuill 2008, pp.5-10). In this context, sociological issues will refer to case study number one, about Ernie. By focussing on sociological imagination, this essay will illustrate how private troubles can be viewed as public issues. This will be followed by a discussion of structure and agency through a gender perspective as such an approach enhances our understanding of men and women's health. It will be argued that the application of sociological knowledge is a fundamental approach in nursing, essential if…show more content…
Additionally, the poor are more likely to smoke than the wealthy, and people of developing countries than those of developed countries (Friel 2009, p.18). It is clear that there is a powerful connection between education, poverty and health (Swinnerton 2006, pp.75-83). People with few educational qualifications fail to get a secure and well paid employment which may have consequence for their health (Booth & Caroll 2005, p.2). As a result, people from low socio-economic status may not have a good awareness of how important it is to take care of their own health (Turale & Miller 2006, p.173). Another example of structure and agency is the influence of gender. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women (Willis & Elmer 2008, pp.85-91). The concept of men recognised as the breadwinner and as the main financial provider in the family (Hobson 2002, p. 174). In Ernie’s case, he has lost his job. Therefore he may have no self-confident as a leader in his family because he earns nothing. In his family, the husband has been the breadwinner; that trend is changing as his wife, Gloria start to support family’s finance. Moreover, he may be condemned as being lazy and labelled simply as a ‘scrounger’ in the social structure (Clegg 1990, pp.406-408). Ernie’s situation does not match his ideas about masculinity. As a result, the

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