Inequalities in Health Essay

1272 Words Jun 23rd, 2011 6 Pages
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Inequalities of Health
Sociology
Gemma McCann

Inequalities of health
Gemma McCann

Word count 1310
Within this assignment I am going to explore the sociological perspectives of Marxism and Functionalism and a brief view on interactionism in relation to health and inequalities in health. I will explore sociological explanations for these inequalities focusing on structural materialist, artefact, social selection and cultural explanations.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing, and not just the absence of disease” (WHO, 1974). Health inequalities are the differences in health or healthcare opportunities in different societies this may be due to income,
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Ill health provides jobs for doctor’s nurses and specialists (P.Trowler, Investigsting Health welfare and Poverty, 1996 p.27) .
Marxist theory believes that there is a relationship between health and illness and capitalist social organisation. The main focus is on how the definition and treatment of health and illness are influenced by the nature of economic activity in a capitalist society. Marxist believe that the health service exists for two reasons, they believe it has a genuine role in that it persuades a large number of the population that capitalism ‘cares’ for them (Moore, 2008 p.263).

Marxist believe that the health service helps the capitalist economy more directly, believing that the health service maintains a healthy, hardworking and productive workforce. Workers who are ill or injured are returned to work and therefore continue to make profits for the owners of capital. Marxist believes that inequalities in health are related to how productive people are. The low levels of expenditure on the working class is explained by the presence of social class division throughout society, whereby working class people consistently receive worse treatment across the range of services in housing, education and health (Moore, 2008, p.265).

Interactionists tend to concentrate on relatively small scale levels of social interaction, between individuals or small social groups. They focus on the way in which individuals act, making conscious choices about