Sociology; Medicine and the health professions.

This is for the 'health and illness' syllabus.

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  • Created by: Sam Hill
  • Created on: 17-05-09 11:42

Medicine and the health professions; The history o

In the past, common diseases were flu, bronchitis and pneumonia, and before that the plague, however, through a 'march of progress' in medicine, people lead healthir lives, e.g. Fleming (antibiotics) and Jenner (smallpox).

McKeown challenges this, saying health has improveed because of beter conditions like;

  • Public hygeine - sewer systems being built
  • Better diet - availability of food, sterilisation of milk
  • Decling family size - better helath care for children.
  • Housing legislation - demolition of slums, reducing overcrowding and therefore diasease.
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The sociological study of mental illness; The medi

The medical model focuses on the symptoms rather than the cause (e.g. housing), and is caused though a virus or bacteria (i.e. aetiology), which can be treated once identified. The belief is that medicine is the best method, and will get better through time and funding.

Criticism is that it should focus on the cause rather than the cure, and more preventative medicine should be available, like breast screenings. Also, alternative medicine should be offered, because diseases like AIDS have no cure as of yet through medicine. Also, most medicine hasn't been tested enough to be seen as a cure

Iatrogenesis is important, because it believes medicine makes people sicker. This could be through addiction of medicine, side-effects and MRSA.

Alternatives to medicine, like aromatherapy, are increasingly recognised, as less trust in medicine is evident. It tackles the cause as well as the cure.

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The sociological study of mental illness; The natu

The sick role is where people don't have to do normal things, and are not to blame for their illness. They are expected to get better as soon as possible, and seek medical help if necessary.

Criticisms are;

  • Some go to work when ill, the decision to go to doctors could depend on social class, gneder, age and ethnicity.
  • Some people are to blame for their illness, e.g. AID's.
  • People today will challenge doctors opinions and seek alternative therapies

People who are off all the time are stigmatised and seen as negative in society.

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The sociological study of mental illness; Differen

Feminism - pregnancy is seen as a medical problem, hence births in hospitals. Nurses are women who have lower pay than male doctors. Contraception is aimed at women, promoting sexual freedom.

Marxism - The purpose is to ensure workers for the capitalists. Doctors give out medicine to keep the companies working, and tobacco and alcohol are allowed to exist so the Government can benefit from tax from these companies. Doctors are agents of social control, and they have to get people back to work ASAP.

Postmodernists - freedom is vital, so alternative medicine is welcome so we can shy away from the dominating medical approach.

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