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HLTHAGE 1AA3 (276)
Anju Joshi (12)
Lecture 4

HLTHAGE 1AA3 Lecture 4: L4+5 Social Construction + Culture

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Health, Aging and Society
Anju Joshi

Midterm Multiple choice component: Short answer component: - Define explain and state the signif. of something - compare two concepts - Put a theoretical concept, into a practical (real world form) Intro to Social Construction Homosexuality → Sin → Mental illness → Sexuality (defined by social circumstances) - Deviance to religion, a sin - In other places and times was a mental instability and mental illness - Regular form of sexuality - Psychiatrists AN and BN ⇒ pro ana/pro mia lifestyle choices - Forgetfulness bc of ageing or is it alzheimer's - Mental illness are not stable agreed defined categories - change shape over diff places and diff times-social constructions - mental health and illness are not universal, permanent, natural, and objective meanings. Rather they are social constr. Their meaning is both contested and fluid - become moral categories- what is normal? Good? Desirable? - other constructs? Gender, race, age category - Race: not genetic, judgements on small amount of bio data (skin colour) - more variation within groups than between groups - Gender: roles we play (sex is a bio category) And Yet... - These categories (‘health’ and ‘illness’) are very real to indiv and their personal experience - also real as a part of the solid fabric, a form of communication - there are many languages of health and illness. Speakers of the same language may understand each other but meaning may also get lost in translation - A physician walks in the office and announces to a patient “i see your file that you weighed in a 240lbs today…” - Can be a good statement of a bad statement depending on the perspective Contrast with Objectivism Objectivist (realist) perspective: - Disease is real - Diseases are discovered - Science is value-neutral - Social anx disorder- became a very large illness (hadn’t discovered it yet and then when we found it it became diag often Constructionist (Relativist) perspective - Disease is an interpretation or label - Decreases labels are constructed - Disease labels make value judgements about what is normal - Social anx disorder- became a very large illness (we created it because we noticed something that wasn’t normal and needed to be fixed-social constructed) - We live in a social world and cannot separate medicine with the social environment Constructed Medical Knowledge - Are med facts discovered or created? Is hlth knowledge the result of continual sci progress or specific time and place? - Foucault: what counts as fact, the result of power dynamics. Certain discourses historically privileged over others - What gives power to groups to create mental illnesses - ie: mental health professionals - Ie: women and pro-natalism - Policies around encouraging women to have lots of children (healthy if you bear lots of children) - Unhealthy for women to participate in high levels of athletics (sprints but no long distance running; can’t play netball but not to play football or hockey - Women are better to be in jobs that are not on their feet - ie: Hypertension: - High blood pressure (when does it become high enough to be dangerous?) - The level of hypertension keeps rising (the normal level keeps getting higher) - The definition of illness changed and more people are being diagnosed (diagnoses boundaries are getting wider)- happens in many different illnesses Medicalization: “Process by which conditions and behavior come to be defined as a medical problem” - Life starts and ends in the same place. (people born and die in a hospital) - Abnormal if birth and death don’t happen in a hospital - Life changes and becomes medicalized - Medicalization critiques stem from the 1070s recognition the obj and value free science utilized to make judgements on acceptable/ unacceptable and desirable/undesirable - ie: birth control - single are not allowed to be prescribed birth control but married women are - ie: Smoking: Becoming moral - before seen as evil - ie: aging: Bad, something we need to stop - Menopause or menstruation (a medical problem not just a biological thing that happens - Erectile disfunction (wasn’t a thing before) - ie: trauma: Should go see a doctor about trauma you've experienced - Extends from deviant behavior (gambling, cult membership) to natural processes (eating, sleep) - Shift from sin to criminal badness to illness - Sin to Bad behavior to sick behavior Agents of Medicalization and why? Medical professionals Scientists: - Generalization- genetics as a way to make sense of complaints, difficulties and deviances. (lab scientists) - We assume this must be true but geneticists say they are iffy are theoretical Pharma companies - “a pill for every ill” - “The transformation of a human conditions, capacities, or capabilities into pharmaceutical matters of treatment and enhancement - Have to manage things with drugs (even normal things) Lay people/ patients: - Importance of patient organizations and patient lobby - Provides meaning to behavior; fight for recognition - A way to help themselves; change their circumstances by getting recognise - Hlth illness and medicine have a lot of power in our soci
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