Tacot Parsons’s Contribution To The Sociology Of Health

2135 words - 9 pages

In this essay I would analyse the concept of health and illness, I would critically examines the contribution of Parsons Theory to health and illness and the criticisms of Parsons model of sick role. In addition, the paper will discuss inequality in health and the findings of black report. I would also discuss sickle cell disease and coronary heart disease.

Talcott Parsons has revolutionised the way to deal with the disease and he structured his ideas in to practice and interlink with core issues that the utilitarian society must have. In that sense Parsons noticed that when a person is sick, they are unable to carry out their social responsibility normally. Therefore, Parsons implies that the only way to understand the illness and its effect to society are to look at illness in a different angle as the form of deviance, which undermines the, role of society thus; it should be a way to control the situation same as crime and other form of deviance. This led Parsons to assess the relationship between illness and social control.
Haralambos (2000 pg294)
Since Parsons emphasised new advances in dealing with illness; thus, he put forward the historical method in the sociology of health known as sick role, he has then shifted illness from biological concept to social theory.
Haralambos (2000 pg294)
Parsons derived model of sick from studies of Freud, Max Weber and The functionalist. He emphasize the concept of transference and counter-transference of parent–child relationship, the idea taken from Freud with patient-doctor relationship then again he undertake the structure of personality from Freud to compare with conflicting drive that sick person has, that he recover from illness and enjoy the secondary gains of care and relief from regular duties. Since Parsons himself as functionalist, he thought functional approach by examining the sickness by sick role mechanisms, whereby sick person should seek medical assistance to professionals who are going to act as a barrier in order to examine the sick person while giving temporary exemption from duties.
'Giddens A' 6th edition online version.

Parsons idea of the sick role was to prescribe ways to control and challenge social deviance thus his model of the sick role has provided the sick person with rights and obligations as followed:

1. Sick person is exempted from their normal duties
2. They are not responsible for their sickness.
Obligations:
1) Should seek medical help from professionals
2) Should see sickness as undesirable

Some theorist has argued Parsons model has not fully cover every issue in his methodology of the sick role subsequently, on issues of patient –doctor relationship, chronic illness and inequality in health .Here the argument would be presented to measure and weigh the model and engage this model to see if it could still function in today’s society.
Taylor S Field 2003 pg
The arguments of the sick role:
On doctor- patient relationship he...

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