Health and Social Care

M1 Health and Social Care

Contact for assignment help at

Unit 7
M1. Use two sociological perspectives to explain different concepts of health.
In this assignment I am going to explain the different concepts of health and what effects individuals health by using two sociological perspectives. The two sociological perspectives that I am going to explain are Marxism and feminism.
Marxism was known as a conflict model, as it is a structuralise model. It was first developed by Karl Marx (1818-83). Karl Marx also thought that individual behaviour was shaped by society but he believed that it was the economic system that defined society and peoples place within it. Marx held the view that in the industrial society of his time there were two social classes:
* The bourgeoisie or capitalists-the small powerful group who owned the factories and other places of employment.
* The proletariat which is a much larger, poorer group of workers- the people of hands that the bourgeoisie employed.
Marx’s view was that these two social class groups would always be in conflict, the owners of the factories, land and offices would want a high profit and the employees would want higher wages that would eat into the profits. So this is why Marxism is often called the conflict model. Marx thought that this conflict would lead to revolution. There was an unequal relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and conflict was inherent in the economic system.
Marx believed there were two social classes; the capitalists and the proletariat. The proletariat group were made up to superior powerful individuals who worked in the capitalists business of employment.
Feminist sociology is a conflict theory and theoretical perspective which observes gender in its relation to power, both at the level of face-to-face interaction and reflexivity within a social structure at large. Focuses include sexual orientation, race, economic status and nationality.
The Marxist believes that the “definition of health and illness, and the health and care services provided; serve the interests of the most powerful dominant classes”. This suggests that according to Stretch and White house that the “powerful, dominant” is referred to as the people who are in the higher class and that their views are being looked into. The Marxist sociological perspectives to health care are: They use doctors as agents to send the ill people back to work. The reason why the Marxist use doctors so to send people back to work is that when the doctors check to see if people who state that are ill to stay off work are really ill. Government allows people that cause ill health e.g.: tobacco, alcohol, junk food. As the government puts VAT on these items and therefore making money out of things that are dangerous to individuals. Poor people have lower diets than the more wealthy people. This is because poor people do not have enough money to buy to buy organic food which is good for them. They buy cheaper unhealthy food that is not good for their health, the unhealthy food are the things which they could afford. They also believe that illness is related to differences in social classes.
Feminism is normally seen as an example of a conflict model within which three main approaches can be identified:
* Marxist feminism
* Radical feminism
* Liberal feminism
Feminists have argued that sociology as an academic discipline was developed and dominated by men. Hence the term “male stream” sociology was introduced. Pamela Abbot and Claire Wallace (1997) clearly summarised the concerns and criticisms of mainstream or main stream sociology from a feminist point of view. They argue that this male dominance has produced biased descriptions and analysis and that not enough attention has been paid to the issues of women and their unequal place in society.
Feminist have expressed their concern with male having so much impact in the medical profession. In the medical sector mostly men have the top jobs such as being a doctor whilst women have lower medical jobs such as nurses. Pregnancy is seen as an illness rather than a natural cause. Employers see women who are pregnant as an illness and rather employ men as they won’t have as much time off work which women have. Men see women as the ones to use contraception in the relationship as their low priority to develop male contraception which has fewer side effects for men. In addition, depress, stress and illnesses maybe due to exploitation in society and are given medication to reduce illness to hide the attention that women’s day to day life maybe the cause for these illnesses. Women are seen as looking after their children and husband whilst juggling their career and want to be independent which may have an effect on women’s health.
Liberal feminism would argue that changes have taken place. They believe that through changing attitudes and recent legislation for example the Equal Pay Act 1970 and the equal opportunities act 1975, there is more quality. Liberal feminists believe that improvements will continue through legislation and policy.
Marxism and Feminism’s sociological perspective have their different view on health. Marxism mostly direct their views of health towards the governmental whereas Feminists have only the men’s to blame in society and feel that men are dominating the women.
Beryl Stretch and Mary Whitehouse BTEC National Diploma in Health and Social Care Book 1 Heinemann 2007