How is class related to health inequality?
How is class related to health inequality? What are the limitations of class analysis?
Two major sociological theoretical perspectives on health and illness are: functionalism and Weberianism. Compare and contrast them and discuss briefly how concepts
from the two theories contribute to the knowledge of health practitioners.
Assessment One – Essay covering Modules 1 & 2
NUR 210 Health Sociology Module 1
Module One Sociology for Health Professionals
1.1 Content overview 1.2 What is Sociology? 1.3 Definition of health and illness. 1.4 The Biomedical model.
1.5 The sociological approach to the study of health and illness.
1.6 Understanding and explaining social phenomena
1.7 Theories, Discourses and Paradigms
1.8 Sociological concepts and theories 1.9 Historical Origins of Social Health 1.10 Social structural approaches: Societies as objective realities 1.11 The
functionalist perspective of health and illness
1.12 The Marxist perspective of health and illness 1.13 Interpretative approaches: Societies as subjective realities 1.14 The Symbolic Interactionist perspective of
health and illness 1.15 The Social Constructionist perspective of health and illness – The relativity of social reality 1.16 Feminist Perspectives
1.17 The Structure –Agency Continuum 1.18 The Sociology of health and illness: Defining the field
1.19 Blackboard activity
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Module One Sociology for Health Professionals
1.1- Content overview This first module explores the questions of ‘what is sociology?’ and ‘how is it relevant to the
This topic contains: ? An overview of Sociology ? An introduction to Health Sociology ? Online learning activity ? A reading list 1.2 -What is Sociology?
We begin this module by exploring the concept of sociology.
The simplest view of the academic discipline of sociology is that it is somehow concerned with the
understanding of human societies. However, this does not take us very far as most people feel they
know a good deal about the society in which they live because they experience it every day; this can
be described as ‘common-sense’ knowledge. Another approach would be to define sociology as a
research based study of society.
However, there are other academic disciplines such as history, politics, economics, anthropology and
social psychology that also have human society as the object of study. Probably the best way of
defining the contribution of sociology is by looking at the key questions that originally stimulated the
development of the academic discipline and which continue to underpin sociological research today:
What gives social life a sense of stability & order?
How does social change & development come about?
What is the nature of the relationship between the individual and the society in which they live?
To what extent does the society into which people are born shape their beliefs, behaviour, & life chances (including health outcomes)?
In other words, sociology looks at the social influences of politics, economy, religion, family, gender
roles and so on, and their impact or importance in understanding behaviour (Kellehear, 1990).
Sociology tries to understand the underlying patterns in the social world. Although other disciplines
do this also, Sociology has its own special way of doing it. Sociologists do not just describe the social
world but attempt to theorise, measure, analyse, interpret and test its subject matter. As Waters
and Crook (1993, p. 3) state, doing sociology is about approaching the familiar world with new eyes.
So why study health Sociology and how is it relevant to working as a health practitioner?
Health Sociology analyses the interaction between SOCIETY and HEALTH. Where medical research
might gather statistics on a disease, a sociological perspective on an illness can provide insight into
what external factors caused the demographics who contacted the illness to become ill.
An example of this is if we look at the table below. Life expectancy for both Indigenous men and
women is well below the average for non-Indigenous men and women. Health Sociology tries to look
at and analyse reasons why this might be so.
Understanding some of the underlying factors can help governments, policy makers and other
stakeholders to make positive changes.
The health industry like any other is embedded with a number of dominant values, assumptions and
processes which shape it. Sociology helps provide the language and tools to critically analyse and
reflect on these. Hence we will be looking at what the social determinants of health are in the
Australian context whilst critiquing the philosophy of primary health care and the dominance of the