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Learning OutcomesLearning Outcomes
Understand the social construction of
illness
Discuss sociological theories of illnes...
Social Construction of HealthSocial Construction of Health
Whatcountsashealthandillnessvariesbetween
individuals,socialgr...
Social ConstructionSocial Construction
• Conrad and Barker (2011) use the
example of the social construction of
women’s he...
Three pregnant women relax in medical 'space-suits' in 1965 in an
attempt to ease childbirth and raise the intelligence of...
Retro advertising from
the 1950s also shows
how attitudes towards
pre and post natal care
have changed
What does it mean to be healthy?What does it mean to be healthy?

In groups, take notes on what is considered
healthy to...
Health is a Social Construct!Health is a Social Construct!
• Health is a relative concept which varies
according to age, l...
Social Construction of IllnessSocial Construction of Illness
• At first glance, the concept of a social
construction of il...
For example...For example...
Our culture, not our biology, dictates:
• Which illnesses are considered disabilities and whi...
If you ARE ill...If you ARE ill...
Society has a way of dealing with you
Talcott Parsons
Eliot Freidson
The Sick RoleThe Sick Role
‘The sick role refers to the pattern
of behavoiur expected of
someone who is ill.’ (Browne, 200...
Talcott Parsons and the Sick RoleTalcott Parsons and the Sick Role
According to Parsons, illness is a form of deviance wh...
Sick RoleSick Role
Ill health is managed by
what Parsons refers to as
the sick role.
The sick role enables
people to esc...
RightsRights
Individuals are excused from
normal social activities. This
requires approval by
teachers, employers AND
fam...
ObligationsObligations
The person must want
to get well, and see
their sickness as
temporary
The person must seek
and ac...
Evaluating the Sick RoleEvaluating the Sick Role
Answer the questions on your sheet
Sick RoleSick Role
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJT1oHqlFis
Warning!! – nudity/printed swear word
Variations of the Sick RoleVariations of the Sick Role
Eliot Friedson devised a scheme to illustrate
1)Variations of the s...
Freidson (1970)Freidson (1970)
States that not all illnesses are the same
Conditional sick role
Unconditionally legitima...
FreidsonFreidson
Read the excerpt from Giddens (2008) – you
can reference this on your worksheet!!
Summarise what is mea...
Examples of Stigmatized DiseasesExamples of Stigmatized Diseases
AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections
Alcohol ...
Which diseases are the most stigmatized? Which are the
least? Is this different in different cultures or social
classes?
Sheldon is SickSheldon is Sick
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yj-DVx8obo
ReferencesReferences
Browne, K. (2008) Sociology for AS AQA. (3rd
ed.)
Cambridge: Polity.
Conrad, P. and Kristin B. (201...
Social construction of health
Social construction of health
Social construction of health
Social construction of health
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Social construction of health

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Powerpoint on Parson's sick role and Freidson's 3 types of illness.

Published in: Healthcare
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Social construction of health

  1. 1. Learning OutcomesLearning Outcomes Understand the social construction of illness Discuss sociological theories of illness i.e. Parsons’ sick role, Freidson’s sociological types of illness
  2. 2. Social Construction of HealthSocial Construction of Health Whatcountsashealthandillnessvariesbetween individuals,socialgroups,societiesetc.,anditchanges overtime Forexample,atonetimeinBritainmentalillness wasseenasasignofsatanicpossessionorwitchcraft (Browne, 2008:422)
  3. 3. Social ConstructionSocial Construction • Conrad and Barker (2011) use the example of the social construction of women’s health. • For example, in the early 19th century, pregnant women were discouraged from driving or dancing for fear of harming the unborn child. • Today they are discouraged from smoking or drinking alcohol.
  4. 4. Three pregnant women relax in medical 'space-suits' in 1965 in an attempt to ease childbirth and raise the intelligence of their offspring. A suction pump next to the chairs lowers pressure inside the suits, while a gauge in front of them gives a constant reading
  5. 5. Retro advertising from the 1950s also shows how attitudes towards pre and post natal care have changed
  6. 6. What does it mean to be healthy?What does it mean to be healthy?  In groups, take notes on what is considered healthy today. This will be what the medical professionals say, the media and so on... What must you do to be healthy? What can’t you do in order to maintain health? Has it always been this way? If not, are these changes always for the better?
  7. 7. Health is a Social Construct!Health is a Social Construct! • Health is a relative concept which varies according to age, lifestyle, personal circumstances, culture, environment etc. • What counts as health is a social construct – it is a result of individual, social and cultural interpretations and perceptions (Browne, 2008:423)
  8. 8. Social Construction of IllnessSocial Construction of Illness • At first glance, the concept of a social construction of illness does not seem to make sense. If you’re ill you’re ill... • However, it’s not that simple for example, who decides what is an illness • You? • Medical professionals? • Society?
  9. 9. For example...For example... Our culture, not our biology, dictates: • Which illnesses are considered disabilities and which are not • Which are stigmatized and which are not • Which are deemed contestable (meaning some medical professionals may find the existence of this ailment questionable) as opposed to definitive (illnesses that are unquestionably recognized in the medical profession) (Conrad and Barker, 2010)
  10. 10. If you ARE ill...If you ARE ill... Society has a way of dealing with you
  11. 11. Talcott Parsons Eliot Freidson
  12. 12. The Sick RoleThe Sick Role ‘The sick role refers to the pattern of behavoiur expected of someone who is ill.’ (Browne, 2008:438) So what is expected of you when you are ill?
  13. 13. Talcott Parsons and the Sick RoleTalcott Parsons and the Sick Role According to Parsons, illness is a form of deviance which threatens the stability of society This is because those who are classified as sick are able to avoid their normal social responsibilities like going to work, school or college, looking after the family etc. If too many people did this society would collapse. Sooo, ill-health is something that needs to be managed in order so that society can function smoothly (cited in Browne, 2008:438)
  14. 14. Sick RoleSick Role Ill health is managed by what Parsons refers to as the sick role. The sick role enables people to escape from their roles and responsibilities and lets others take over until they have recovered. (cited in Browne, 2008:438)
  15. 15. RightsRights Individuals are excused from normal social activities. This requires approval by teachers, employers AND family members. The doctor plays a role in diagnosis and sick notes Individuals are not blamed for their illness and it is recognised that they need help to recover (Browne, 2008:438)
  16. 16. ObligationsObligations The person must want to get well, and see their sickness as temporary The person must seek and accept medical help and follow doctors’ orders
  17. 17. Evaluating the Sick RoleEvaluating the Sick Role Answer the questions on your sheet
  18. 18. Sick RoleSick Role https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJT1oHqlFis Warning!! – nudity/printed swear word
  19. 19. Variations of the Sick RoleVariations of the Sick Role Eliot Friedson devised a scheme to illustrate 1)Variations of the sick role exist depending on one’s illness 2)That how sick people are treated depends on the imputed seriousness of their disease and whether or not it is stigmatized with in the society 3)That the illness label is not objective but rather a reflection of societal norms and cultural traditions.
  20. 20. Freidson (1970)Freidson (1970) States that not all illnesses are the same Conditional sick role Unconditionally legitimate sick role Illegitimate sick role
  21. 21. FreidsonFreidson Read the excerpt from Giddens (2008) – you can reference this on your worksheet!! Summarise what is meant by each type of sick role List some illnesses that can fit into each category
  22. 22. Examples of Stigmatized DiseasesExamples of Stigmatized Diseases AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections Alcohol and drug related diseases Smoking related diseases Diseases associated with obesity Mental health related illnesses
  23. 23. Which diseases are the most stigmatized? Which are the least? Is this different in different cultures or social classes?
  24. 24. Sheldon is SickSheldon is Sick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yj-DVx8obo
  25. 25. ReferencesReferences Browne, K. (2008) Sociology for AS AQA. (3rd ed.) Cambridge: Polity. Conrad, P. and Kristin B. (2010) The Social Construction of Illness: Key Insights and Policy Implications. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Vol 51: 67–79. Giddens, A. (2006) Sociology (5th ed.) Weiss, G. and Lonnquist, L. (2015) Sociology of Health, Healing and Illness. (8th ed.) Oxon: Routledge.

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