What can you
How do you think
would view health
Introducing the Functionalist
perspective of health and illness
Talcott Parsons Wrote in the early 1950s. At this
time very few sociologists paid attention to health.
Parsons wanted to show how the biological aspects of
social life could be understood through a sociological
Starting point: All social actions can be understood
in terms of how they help society to function
effectively or not.
When a person is sick they are unable to perform their social roles normally.
It disturbs society's functioning in the same way that crime does. Therefore
illness can be viewed as ‘deviant’.
Illness needs to be controlled in some way and the deviant helped or forced into
performing their social role once again.
How does illness disrupt the order of society in the same way as
crime? Write a few sentences.
Talcott Parsons and the Sick Role
How do people
when they are
Who is likely
to take on the
role as ‘carer’?