Social Institutions: Health Care Heather Richardson SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology Dr. Christine Nortz Social Institutions: Health Care America has a highly developed health care system, which is available to all people. Although it can be a very complex and trying subject, it has come a long way from the health care systems of yesterday. Most health care facilities of yesterday, the sick were housed and cared for until death. Doctors rarely practiced in the hospital setting and only those that were fortunate could afford health care in the home setting.
Today, the level of health care has excelled tremendously. Sociologists have been a key to the ongoing research in the health care system. In researching the scientific and social aspect of human behavior, sociologists can research different aspects and place them in various theories. The Symbolic Interactionist Perspetve takes a different look at the health care system. They are apt to take a more “micro” look. They are more insterested on how people experience health care as a whole.
They look at the relationships that people have with their physicnas. They research outcomes like how a physian interacts with their patients, the discussions and who talks more, if the physician addresses all the patients needs, and what the outcome is of the interaction. They are more interested in the reality aspect. “Symbolic interactionism is a social constructionist approach to understanding social life that focuses on how reality is constructed by active and creative actors through their interactions with others” (Stolley, 2005, ¶7).
In the view if Interactionists, both the physicna and the patient play an active role. With the these theories all examining the health care system, they all have similarities and differences to be noted. All three of the throeies are similar in a way hwre they look for a solution to any problem and/or outcome of a situation. A functionalist views all people as a part of a system as a whole. According to the conflict theory, they are also part of a system which create conflict and inequality.
The Interactionists views everyone as an “actor” forsay, which play an active role. They are also similar in saying that the health care system is for the common good. They study different aspects of the system to try and improve for the future. The conflict and the interactionists hold many similarites. The conflict looks for the inequality and tension within the system. The interactionist can help by noting the specific relationship one may have with their physiscian and note that the physician does not care for their patient adequetly.
Although they are all in it for the improvement, they are also very differet. While a functionalist looks to see the person as a working part of a system and if they are ill, they could possibly fail the system, the conflict theory says that the health care system is the one to blame. The more neutral of the theories, the interactionist just looks at the patient and physician relationsip. They all look at different aspects of the system. With the conflict theory, the health care system is under a constant miscroscope.
If the goal is to point out inequality and tension within a system, then someone will be pointed out in the end. It is claimed by the conflict theorist that the health care system has caused medicalization to society. The health care system has a social control. Because medicine has become so advacned, it has become difficult for the non-health care field to get directly involved in treatment. That creates a conflict with the proffessionals and the non-preofessionals. Conflict theoriests “seek to determine who benefits, who suffers, and who dominates at the expense of others.
We live in a country where physicns are looked upon as Gods that can create cures. Therefore, they have a control over the system. If one of uninsured, they may lack the medical attention they need because no will serve the common public for free. Everything is money driven. With the interactionist, both the individual (patient) and the physician is affected. They claim that the point of view of the patient is not passive. Instead of viewing the medical team as Gods, the view is that the patient plays just as important role as the physicna.
The problem is that when someone is pinned as having a certain illness, mainly a mental illness, they are exptected to act according to the illnessesd diagnoses. “A person with a physical handicap may come to view themselves as flawed or defective and will behave that way” (Prole, 2005, ¶18). According to the interactionist, we see ourselves in terms of how we are veiwed in society. All of the approaches can be used to socially change this system. The functionalist approach can help identify each person as either ill or recovering/recovered.
This can be beneficial because it can enable us to identify who is seeking medical care to better themsevles in order to return to the system for either work or school. In order to effecintly run a working country that makes ecenomic steps forward, we must have a working class. With the conflict approach, we can identify the holes in the system that can make it better for the future. We can work on the lack of health insurnce throughout the country, the inequalities in the system that can make it a better place for all involved no matter sex, race and social status. References