Sociology- Inequalities

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Why is health so difficult to define? - determining whether or not someone is healthy is not an easy matter. Health is personal, social and emotional. It touches everyone in an important way. For most people health becomes a topic of interest only in its absence. This is the negative definition of health. The positive definition is much different. It is viewed as a capacity, and optimistic view, where health is as state of well-being. The World Health Organization (W.H.O) shares this definition and characterizes health as ‘’a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’’. (1946). Although the definition sounds good and complete, many critics such as Professor Niyi Awofeso argue that the W.H.O definition of health is ‘’utopian, inflexible and unrealistic, and that including the word ‘complete’ in the definition makes it highly unlikely that anyone would be healthy for a reasonable period of time. Psychology Today (2010) This Essay will apply sociological concepts and theory to the definitions of health and well-being and show an understanding of terms such as health, ill-health, illness, disease, mental health and disability defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This essay will use data to describe inequalities in health and care. It will include the Black Report (1980) and the Acheson Report (1989) to highlight health and social inequalities in Britain. The social model says there’s more to disease than physical symptoms. The social model looks outwards from the individual to the environmental and social factors which disable an individual, for example, lack of access, rights and opportunities. The social model of health challenges the idea that wellness is the normal state of affairs. Individuals with an illness are seen as ‘living with’ their condition instead of having something wrong with them. A/S Sociology (2004) The biomedical model says health and disease are biological things. The biomedical model is based around the idea that health and disease are biological phenomena which exist in an individual’s body. Disease is something physically wrong with the body, and health is the absence of disease. The interaction of the individual and the social world is not relevant in the biomedical model. Health professionals generally follow the biomedical model. Key characteristics of the biomedical model: * Health is seen as the absence of biological abnormality * The human body is like a machine in that it needs to be repaired by treatment when it breaks down * The health of society is dependent on the state of medical knowledge. A/S Sociology (2004) Health as a ‘social construct’ is an idea that’s created by a society, as opposed to an idea that’s based on objective and testable facts. It’s specific to the values and behavior of that society, it’s not universal. But people living in that society will usually accept it as natural and ‘common sense’. Health is a social construct because it differs from culture to culture. By comparing the Shankill and Crawfordsburn health status and economic status will be transition and evaluated. The Shankill is classified as an urban area, populated by 3784 people. It is located in East Belfast. It is clear from the statistics of the education, housing and employment on the Shankill that most of the population are lower or middle class citizens. From research, on the NI neighborhood information service it showed that 1243 persons were claiming housing benefit and a further 519 were claiming income support. It is also shown in the statistics that there is more health problems and crime in the Shankill. Crawfordsburn is classified as a rural area, it is populated by 2552 people. It is located in South Belfast, in the outskirts of Bangor. From the statistics you are able to see that Crawfordsburn is made up of middle or upper class citizens. This is shown in the statistics of the amount of people who own their...
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