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SCLY2 - Health and Illness
Health and Illness

`Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of
disease or infirmity'. ­ WHO

In British culture we generally require some physical evidence to qualify us as being `ill'
Also in British culture we…

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· Contraception
· Menopause
· Some men view being ill as a threat to their masculinity.
· It makes them vulnerable and may be reliant on someone else, which they may not like.
· Women on the other hand are `allowed' to be vulnerable

Social Class differences
Blaxter (2002)


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Kleinman (1988) - The model focuses on the disease (scientific side) rather than the illness (the patient

Complementary Model

The recent years in western society there has been a growth in complementary/ alternative
medicine. (CAM)
E.g. Herbal remedies, acupuncture, homeopathy, reflexology.

The number of non-medically trained registered therapists in…

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No scientific evidence that therapies work (pseudo effect?)
People may reject medical treatment and get worse/illness develops

Could be `Fake healers' ­ money making scheme
Making people worse
Therapists are not fully trained- only their `treatment'

Traditional/Non- Western Model

In traditional societies (before the invention of medicine) and non-western societies,…

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Differences across time Differences across culture

o Black teeth in Tudor times was consider to be o Lip disks/ piercings considered attractive
wealth o Suri tribe
o Bigger people in Tudor times considered o Larger people considered a sign of wealthy
attractive o Japan ­ female faces, very petite/slim

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Creation of ideal body by the media.

Post modernists say the human body are now projects ­ we try to control and mould them.

Cosmetic surgery



Over Exercise ­ body builders




We change our bodies for 2 main points:

We use it to send messages…

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· Disability Discrimination Act (1995)

· This is the key legislation in the UK to ensure people with disabilities are not discriminated

Finkelstein (1980)

· Created during industrialisation

· People with impairment became excluded from work and labelled as sick

· This is evidence that disability (& the body)…

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Clarke (1992):
The stigma can be worse if the person is seen to have `brought' it upon themselves.
· The abnormal stigma model and the concept of stigma support the view that disability and the body
are socially constructed

Different impairment model
· Disability is not socially constructed.
· It…

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Health Inequalities
Life expectancy: The worlds average life expectancy (both sexes) is 66.57 (United Nation)

UK's average life expectancy is 80:

Men 78.1
Women 82.1

Much more likely to have a higher life expectancy if you live in London or the south east.
Lower life expectancy in Scotland and North…

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Explanations for the differences in health between social classes

The artefact approach
Something observed in a scientific investigation that is not naturally present, but occurs as a result of the
investigation procedure, the link between class and health is not real but a statically illusion.

Illsley (1989)
Argues that the…


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