Sociology Is The Study Of Human Interaction Assignment School Essay

1636 words - 7 pages

Sociology is the study of human interaction. It focuses on life, change, causes and consequences of human behaviour (Cornell University of Sociology, 2008). In relation to health, sociology is responsible for acquiring quantitative data that resulted from social surveys, epidemiological and comparative studies (Health Knowledge, 2011). This stands for possible influences of the society and human processes and interaction in determining health outcomes. Sociologists study health and illness not by just the mere thought of their curiosity and interest. But because it helps them understand how society work and function (White, 2002). They argue that diseases are socially developed, produced and acquired. Additionally, it shows that diseases are neither just purely part of nature, biology nor science (White, 2002). This therefore means that sociology plays a big role in shaping and understanding the production and distribution of diseases. This essay will showcase the two major sociological theoretical perspectives on health and illness which are functionalism and Weberianism. The essay will demonstrate the comparison between the two. Furthermore, it will briefly discuss how concepts from the two theories will contribute to the knowledge of health practitioners.
One of the major sociological theoretical perspectives on health and illness is functionalism. This perspective is also known as structural functionalism or consensus theory. It was theorized by Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons and Robert Merton (Germov, 2014). The functionalism perspective focuses on the way social structure function to maintain stability and consensus within modern societies (Health Knowledge, 2011). The society itself was compared to a biological organism which is made up of interconnected and integrated parts that has certain needs. Functionalism theory has the assumption based on their large-scale social processes that in order to maintain stability and consensus in the society, the needs of the society and its integrated systematic parts must be met (Germov, 2014). Within medical sociology, Talcott Parsons, the leading figure within this sociological tradition has greatly influenced the structural functionalist analysis of healthcare system (Health Knowledge, 2011). He once said, "The state of optimum capacity of an individual for the effective performance of the roles and tasks for which she or has been socialised”, (Parsons, 1951 as cited by Health Knowledge, 2011). He believed that the health of individuals is intimately involved in the prerequisites of the social system for its smooth functioning. Hence, health is an essential factor in maintaining stability and consensus in the society. Parsons then identified illness as deviance (Germov, 2014). He explained that to be sick is to fail in terms of attending one’s role in the society. This therefore disables the effective and efficient performance of the society in the large-scale basis (Health Knowledge, 2011). At...

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