Ch 8 Medical Soc

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sociology
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1

Illness as Deviant Behavior

- Sociologists have typically viewed sickness as a form of deviant behavior
- Being ill can disrupt normal social functioning and is generally viewed as undesirable by both individuals and society
- Such a perspective goes beyond a purely biological definition of disease as an abnormality of the body

2

Deviance

Any act or behavior that violates the social norms within a given social system

3

Disease

An adverse physical state, consisting of a physiological dysfunction within an individual

4

Illness

A subjective state pertaining to an individual’s psychological awareness of having a disease and usually causing that person to modify his or her behavior

5

Sickness

A social state signifying an impaired social role for those who are ill

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DSM: (Diagnostic & Stastical Manual of Mental Health)

-DSM-I (1952): Listed 106 mental disorders
-DSM-IV (1994): 297 disorders
EX: menopause, male baldness, hyperactivity

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Medicalization

A process by which previously non-medical problems are defined and treated as medical problems, usually in terms of illnesses or disorders

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Labeling Theory

-What is regarded as deviant behavior by one person or social group may not be so regarded by other persons or social groups
-Deviance is not a quality of the act a person commits but instead is a consequence of the definition applied to that act by other people

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Conditional Legitimacy

Temporary exemption from normal obligations, obligation to get well (colds, pneumonia)

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Unconditional Legitimacy

Permanent exemption from obligations, plus gain extra privileges because of hopelessness of deviance (cancer)

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Illegitimacy

Exempt from some obligations but no additional privileges and may be stigmatized (stammers, epilepsy)

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Stigma

Some sick or physically handicapped may be stigmatized if affliction is unpleasant for others because of how they appear, smell or behave
-Stigma originated in the Greeks (refers to marks on body & represented something bad & immoral)

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THREE forms of stigma (Goffman)

1) Abominations of body, such as various types of physical deformities (handicapped)
2) Blemishes of individual character (mental disorders, STDs, alcoholism, suicidal tendencies)
3) Tribal stigmas of race, religion & nationality

14

Functionalist Approach to Deviance

-Views society as a system of interrelated parts, with an emphasis on the tendency of those parts to work together to maintain order and equilibrium
-Deviance represents behaviors which disrupt normal social functioning and are reduced and/or controlled through the application of various sanctions

15

Four Basic Aspects of the Sick Role

1) Is exempt from “normal” social roles
2) Is not responsible for his or her condition
3) Should try to get well
4) Should seek technically competent help and cooperate with the physician