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Lecture 3

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SOCI 3645

GL SOCI 3230- Sociology of Health and Illness Lecture 3 th September 24 , 2013 Tahreem Mahmood Methods in Sociological Studies of Health Leading causes of death in Canada: 1. Malignant neoplasm’s – cancer – 29.8% (30%) of all deaths 2. Heart disease – 20.7% (21%) 3. Cerebrovascular diseases – brain related diseases (brain hemorrhage—stroke) – 5.9% (6%) 4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases – disease of the lung – 4.6% (5%) 5. Accidents (unintentional injuries) – 4.3% (4%) 6. Diabetes mellitus – 2.9% (3%) 7. Alzheimer’s disease – 2.6% a. This occurs because there are a high percentage of old people 8. Influenza and pneumonia – 2.4% Positivism  3 fundamental assumptions o Sociology tries to uncover universal causal laws; o Human behaviour is objectively measurable (survey research, experimental study designs); o Social facts are “things” which determine human behaviour through the established norms in every society What do they study?  The relationships between social facts and health variables  Health variables can be studied as either outcomes caused by other variables (social factors, demographic structure)  Model “A” (ex. If you work in a poor environment you can get cancer from it)  Or as independent causes resulting in the change of social variables  Model “B” (ex. Prevalence of disease in aboriginal communities caused a lot of deaths because of loss of culture) culture change = result variable, disease = result  In causal connections the “cause” variable always precede in time the “effect” variable  Intervening variables must be eliminated or measured Epidemiology  Is the study of causes of disease and the distribution of disease patterns in the population  Disease incidence: the number of new cases of a known disease in the population in a given period of time (e.g. per year)  Disease prevalence : the number of cases of a known disease in the population so far GL SOCI 3230- Sociology of Health and Illness Lecture 3 th September 24 , 2013 Tahreem Mahmood  Divide incidence by prevalence to find the amount of increase of AIDS in a country Historic materialism/Class analysis  This is the method used by conflict theorists  Social conflict theory seeks to explain how disease and disease-related patterns of behaviour result from social inequality/inequity  General assumption: social facts are always constructed/shaped by power relations  Research should be comparative and account for historical developments (social change)  Sociological research cannot be objective: it is always influenced by values arising from the researcher’s perspective of observation Leading topic: Medicalization  Iatrogenesis: injury resulting from medical intervention o Clinical – medical errors o Social – the increasing impact of medicine on our lifespan (e.g., screening and increasing use of tests by physicians) o Structural – the loss of individual autonomy/control over health and the creation of dependency on medical care  The increased control and direct intervention by the state in health care creates medical dominance over the population;  The health industry in capitalist societies is developed and controlled by the wealthy class for their own profit Inter-subjective (Reflexive) Analysis  A qualitative method aiming to describe the perspectives of perception of the social world by small groups of people ( in their everyday interactions)
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