Health Social Science
Traditional practitioners of social science and medicine would view the two fields as separate. However, in order to understand complex health problems better, there is a need to integrate both. This is way easier said than done, of course. Integration of the two fields means permeating the walls that surround them. Rigid knowledge boundaries among these fields alone hinder the unification. As Van Der Geest said, medicine is problem-oriented and physicians are supposed to find “concrete solutions to concrete problems”. It focuses more on the biological properties. Social science, on the other hand, studies the society and how people interact, behave, and influence the world around us. It is difficult to let go of the rigid boundaries since people have been used to it for many years. Softening the walls of each discipline calls for a change which requires adjustment among people within those disciplines and how they are used. What also makes the integration of social science and medicine harder is that there is discipline competition among institutions. Power is the driving force among institutions and this is acquired by controlling knowledge and training professionals that recognize the application of that knowledge (Albrecht et al, 2001). This acquisition of power by each discipline might lead to more rigid walls. It is also with these walls that ethnocentrism within the disciplines exist. Because medicine focuses more on the biological properties, it neglects other factors such as social, political, economic etc. that could have caused the disease. Since social science is more concentrated in describing, analyzing, and/or explaining human phenomena, it forgets the biological part and the creation of solution to concrete problems as what medical practitioners do. Ethnocentrism fosters narrow-mindedness as it prevents attempts to acknowledge viewpoints from other disciplines in addressing health problems. Another...
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