The Medical Model - Health and Illness
- Ill-health comes from biological or physical causes.
- The human body is seen as a machine - It needs reparing (through medication)
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The Social Model - Health and Illness
- Looks towards social causes of health and illness.
- Social causes include poverty, unemployment, living conditions etc.
- Differences between social class, ethnicity, gender and age are also looked at.
- Critical of doctors - They have too much power determining someone as ill
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The Medical Model - Disability
- Disabilities are problems that need to be helped.
- They need to adapt to society, rather than society adapting to them.
- Share the view that people with disabilities are dependent, which justifies their exclusion.
- Medical diagnosis of disability is used to control access to welfare etc.
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The Social Model - Disability
- Disability is caused by barriers in society - they discriminate against those with disabilities.
- Tom Shakespeare (1998) - Disability should be seen as a social construct. Disability is created by society which does not take into account the needs of those who do not fit into a 'normal' society.
- Tom Shakespeare (1998) - People have disabilites only if soceity treats them like second-class citizens, which makes it harder for them to function. Disability only exists because of prejudice and discrimination.
- This model is changing the way society sees disability - Disability Discrimination Act 2004.
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The Sociology of the Body
- A new area in Sociology.
- Focuses on how our bodies are influenced by social attitudes and pressures.
- Society has become more concerned about having a healthy body.
- Plastic surgery is more avaiable and affordable.
- Debates about reproduction, euthanasia and abortion are all to do with the body.
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Eating Disorders - The Sociology of the Body
- Focuses on the role of the mass media projecting thin women, which women try to copy. Naomi Wolf calls this the 'beauty myth'
- Reasearch has linked personality traits to eating disorders - obsessiveness, low self-esteem
- Other links to tramatic life experiences, physical or sexual abuse etc.
- Bennet, Sharp, Freeman et al. (2004) - Not just a western problem. Screened female secondary school students in India. 10 had low weight due to self-starvation.
- Some studies suggest that eating disorders are genetically determined.
- Some look at the role of seretonin.
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Feminist Perspectives on the Body
- Naomi Wolf is a radical feminist who argues that women have become more successful, therefore the 'beauty myth' is used to put them back in their place.
- Women see images of the 'perfect' woman. Society judges women and they judge themselves.
- The portrayal of women is a deception.
- The beauty myth is responsible for obsessive dieting and eading disorders which result.
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