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SOC2101 - Intro & The Body

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University of Ottawa
Ariel Fuenzalida

SOC2101 - SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO HEALTH, ILLNESS & MEDICINE Introduction • Doctrine of Aetiology - modern bio medicine/science; something coming into the body to cause sickness - emergence of the microscope; peering into different dimensions - modernity of Western medicine - biomedical technology is an extension of our senses; the microscope - cause and effect relationship - Decartes - dualism - matter vs. non matter - body vs. mind - separating mind from body - is it really a disease if there is no organic matter to prove so? - psychological conditions - biomedicine is objective - there is neutrality - reading of symptoms...etc - sociology does not see health/medicine as neutral - more than just symptoms - want to expand the medical approach - social processes are a cultural dynamic The Body - the body is the main site that medicine focuses on - we tend to get caught up in health and medicine and we actually forget about the body as a person - biological processes we give to doctors, how about the social processes? - the sociological approach is the expansion of knowledge to health, illness, medicine and how these connect to social processes - the body is central for medical processes • What is the body? - common metaphor relating body to a car - “treat your body like a car, putting good fuel in and going for tune-ups every so often” - not actually a machine, but seen as one - bodies are all different shapes and sizes - worlds skinniest woman to worlds fattest man; tallest person to shortest person - spectrum of different bodies - extremes relating to medical conditions -disabilities and abnormalities - in the past, medical conditions/abnormalities were made fun of and seen as a punishment from God - transition into the 20th century - more understanding of medical conditions and extremes - we can change our bodies - cosmetic surgery - machine limbs...human cyborgs - weight gain, weight loss - the body is expressive - a certain type of “canvas” - different cultures see this differently - body paint, tattoos, scarification - ear, neck, lip extending - piercings - body modification is social - don’t do it for our health, do it because it’s a social/cultural thing - “soc
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