Class Notes (808,703)
Canada (493,376)
Sociology (2,049)
Lecture 8

Lecture 8 Nov 1st.docx

9 Pages
Unlock Document

McMaster University
Gail Coulas

Sociology 3HH3: Sociology of Health Nov. 1 2012 Lecture 8: Labelling and Medicalization NOTE: - Email her over weekend - Course code in subject - Name, student number - Mac email - For exam mark - ***non-internet source – joanne clark’s book on medicalization*** Intro - Health is not random o Micro level: the social groups that you interact with shape you perctipns and your reactions - Our social perceptions of health shift with time and space (often with the person we are associated with) o Idea of what is “normal” or what is “deviant” shifts with your context  E.g. How diff cults seek help (last week’s lect)  Act of medical help seeking - Social construction o Effects both the individual and the practioner o Personal defs and reactions are often shaped by very subjective critera o Can be confusing bc shaped by more than one struct of soc  The label can shift when moving from one group to another - Social legitimization (authority/power) – to label o All our insititutions are given a degree of control to label o Issue is when these areas and control and definition overlap  E.g. Family  In that family, your job is to raise your kids o Does education have a say in that? Does religion?  Overlapping  The degree of the intrusion depends on our perception of the intruder  E.g. if religious, religious struct will have more of an effect  Depends on who you give power to - Societed definition o Expands and contracts depending upon who has power over definition  Can create dilemmas of definition  Is alcholohism a crime, a sin, a disease?  Defining becomes part of power/authority  Who do we give the most power to in our soc to label our definitions?  Who we allow to shape our beleifs, our values  Who do we turn to for help and treatment  Subjective, intutitive level to our construction of sickness and health Authroity and Power of Med - Shifting in course content to a more critical view of medicine o Have to remember: We give power to the med institution  Need med institution to refocus upstream  Who do we have to change? o Have to take power away from biomed to do this  Not happening because although we understand the necc of the shift, we don’t want to let go of that  Only has as much authority as soc allows  So to make the shift we have to reduce the power of med and reduce the legitimacy of that institution as well o Shift causes a lot of ripple effects - How medicine attains and maintains the control o Underlines the role of soc – part that we play in giving that institution such a large amount of control/authority o Begin by looking at research that analyizes personal def of health  Based on socially believed cults and norms  “Subjective Distribution of Illness” o Personal defs indicate that they are based on very subjective criteria  Socially ruled beliefs o Relates to personal belief structure, culture etc. o Also effected by your own physician’s subjective distribution of illness o Subjective – people differ on all these:  Who do I think counts as sick?  Which symptoms do I think I should pay attn. to? Which ones are severe?  Which people seek help? Which don’t?  What do I want for help? Biomed, comfy etc. o How does the shared definition of illness come to be accepted?  Hard to figure out in our soc because the receving or seeking of medical health care is primarily a voluntary action  You call the doctor, he doesn’t call you  Because our soc has such a strong belief in biomed – we give them authority to legitimize sickness and create the sick role  If serious – seek help with biomed first  If just to keep healthy rather than to cure – seek alternatives more frequently Labelling - Labelling – Power that we give medicine as a group o Often they will give us defs and explanations that fit into cult accepted categories o Bc they are just people – they interpret their science thru their own cultural lens  Culturally significant labels  Power to interpret standards thru their cult view (who they are)  Interpret and pose social standards on their patients o E.g. Family planning – in many cases they used to/tried to make these decisions for you  When you are too old for kids  Decide which way you should have kids (natural etc.)  When it is too late for an abortion/when you are allowed to have an abortion  Who has reproductive rights (access to abortion, to information about birth control etc.)  E.g. Reproductive technology  View of medicine, not the view of women  What is appropriate sexual activity  i.e. sex ed for teens o Should they be able to decide that for you? o Taking social values and putting them on your medical life o Supposed to be objective individuals, but are as good as a product of the culture  Differ from cult to cult  E.g. advice from a doc in secular t.o. on birth control vs. advice from a doc in catholic Ireland  Supposed to be giving us scientific info only, but are structured by culture - Does this labelling relate to bio science? o Or is it social control?  They can diagnose the problem, but should they be allowed to come up with a solution that is outside of the realm of biomed?  They can label the disease, but can they label the solution?  - Labelling o Relies on a sociated definition  Definition expands and contracts dependeing upon who has power over def  On who gets to decide what it means o Based on social values o Carries a judgement of NORMAL  That normalcy often measured by a standardized measurement  E.g. bell curve – the average o Normal is line straight down the centre o If you only label people who are normal, what do you miss? o All the other area!  Often how many people fall outside of the average is ignored o E.g. Robin Williams  His level of acticity is normal for him, but not normal for us  When he was ins chool – everyone else was quiet and he was crazy  They were “normal”, he was not, according to the school  But according to him, he was normal  Who gets to decide normal? o What is normal?  Can only perceive normal from what you are  When we allow someone to label – they get to decide normal o Would be great if we all shared a def of normal but we don’t  Comes from who we associate with, who we know  Who’s view is most credible to you? - Label has power o Once we accept and believe in the def and the authority of the person giving the label it has power  To Legitimize  When someone labels your disease, you can feel relief – now that we know what it is, we can handle it  Can feel dread o Have to deal with the mental and physically dehabilitating states that the label imposes  Alzheimer's, MS o Effects socially how people will act with you and how you will act with them  Either way, the label can legitimizes your state and lets you fulfill the sick role o Sick role’s 4 social expectations  Exempt from normal social role activity  Too sick to clean etc.  Exempt from responsibility of being ill  Not my fault I got the flu  Sick must take care to get healthy  Obliged to want to get better since the sick role is not ideal o To seek competent health (doctor)  Sick must be cared for by others  Pick up the slack o Label of sick role draws attn. to how sickness is socially regulated  When that label is imposed, all of us have rules about what we should be doing o Concept Shows how puts pressure on the sick  We Judge people who don’t follow doc’s orders to get better  Don’t give any leeway to those who are not legit sick  To stigmatize  Negative reaction from soc to your illness o E.g. AIDS  Don’t want disease label made
More Less

Related notes for SOCIOL 3HH3

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.