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Chapter 14

SOC100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Social Class, Flexner Report, Absenteeism

Course Code
Alison Dunwoody

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Health, Medicine and Age
-in 2010, Betty White became oldest person to host Saturday Night Live, winning an
Emmy award for her performance
-advancements in medical technologies and improved living conditions have
increased life expentancy:
oin Canada: average age is ~81
-are we living better though?
oincreased rate of obesity, diabetes, arthritis and other conditions
odoctor shortages
olong wait times
ooverburdened system
-challenges to institution of medicine: system's principles of university don't always
translate into practice. Sometimes people are left behind.
-Canadians have one of the most envied health care systems in world
-a long life without health is one few would welcome
Culture, Society and Health
-health affected by: biology, relationships, contexts, and significance of impact of
culture and society, communities, access to health care, exposure to risks
-definition of health from WHO: "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-
being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity"
oculture influences our belief of where we fall in the spectrum of perfect health on
one side and death on the other
-rural areas
oCON: have to travel far to see doctor
oPRO: avoid stresses, environmental risks that city people face

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-cultural preferences affect with treatments are sought
oJapan: organ transplants are rare, do not like harvesting organs from brain-dead
-research shows diseases also rooted in shared meaning of culture
-culture bound syndrome: a disease or illness that cannot be understood apart
from specific social context
omeans there is something particular about that culture that contributes to that
-average Canadian woman:
o5 feet 3 inches
o153 pounds
owears size 14 dress
-average model:
o5 feet 9 inches
o110 pounds
owears size 0 or 2
-anorexia nervosa: intense fear of becoming obese and a distorted image of one's
ois culture-bound syndrome
ousually in teens or 20s
olose weight by self induced semi starvation
oseen as healthy and beautiful VS ugly and lacking self discipline
-until recently, researchers dealt with concept of culture-bound syndrome only in
cross-cultural studies
-medical practitioners now being trained to recognize cultural beliefs that re related to

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oex. people from Central America consider pain a consequence of imbalance of
oex. Muslim women are concerned about modesty
-culture can influence incidence of disease or disorder
oin book The Scalpel and the Silver Bear, Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord, the first Navojo
women to become surgeon, writes about depression and alcoholism on reserve
osays diseases born out of historicla grief
orates of FASD- fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, heart disease and type 2
diabetes higher in First Nations communities than on national average
Sociological Perspective on Health and illness
-other people affect how we perceive own health and health of others
-have to consider how society defines illness, what are consequences of
-Illness and Social Order
If too many people are sick at the same time; undercuts our collective ability to
perform tasks necessary for the continued operation of society. We socially define
what is “ill,” to limit mass spread of sickness.Sick role, refers to societal
expectations about the attitudes and behaviour of a person labelled as ill
sick are obligated to attempt recovery
obligation arises from the sense of responsibility we have to perform our
normal roles in society
also is motivated by the reality that we may well face sanctions from others
for failing to return to those normal roles quickly
often look down on those who seem to get sick too easily
oExempt from normal tasks; physicians are gatekeepers of deciding who is sick
(give the notes); doctor controls the resources the patient needs; employment
tension also affects one’s willingness to be sick; (e.g. athletes will try to not be
oYoung kids (unknowing) and old people (too weak already) are most vulnerable
A Matter of Perspective
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