The functionalist view on health and illness comes from the work of Talcott Parsons. In line with the functionalist approach to society, he added that for society for function properly all of its members need to be healthy. Talcott Parsons said that illness was a form of deviance, and the members of society who where ill performed the sick role in society. Parsons said that is people in society declared themselves as ill then they developed new specific rights. They became exempt from certain social obligations such as going to school or attending work, and they had the right to be cared for. Parsons saw it as the role of the family to care for family members who were sick. Parsons also said that the people who were playing the sick role had personal responsibilities as well. This included them taking all the reasonable steps to help themselves get better so they are able to resume their usual role within society, and they must also co-operate with medical professionals which are helping them get better. Functionalists believe that illness have a knock on effect to society. They believe that the ill need to be cared for swiftly to ensure that society continues to run smoothly.
Under the Marxist approach they believe that health and illness serve the interests of the more powerful and more dominant social classes, rather than the lower classes in society. In the Marxist approach they see doctors as people who ensure that the working class get back to work as soon as possible, acting in the interests of the employers rather than in the interests of their patients. The job of the doctors under the Marxist approach is to provide the company owners with a workforce which is healthy and fit for work. As well as this the Marxist approach recognises that the government allows profits to me made from products that cause ill health such as cigarettes and alcohol, and that firms continue to produce products which will pollute...
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