Inequalities in Health Essay

1298 Words Jun 26th, 2011 6 Pages
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Inequalities of Health
Sociology
Gemma McCann

Inequalities of health
Gemma McCann

Word count 1310
Within this assignment I am going to explore the sociological perspectives of Marxism and Functionalism and a brief view on interactionism in relation to health and inequalities in health. I will explore sociological explanations for these inequalities focusing on structural materialist, artefact, social selection and cultural explanations.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing, and not just the absence of disease” (WHO, 1974). Health inequalities are the differences in health or healthcare opportunities in different societies this may be due to income,
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The interactionist approach focuses on power relations in the construction and management of health and illness. It draws attention to the unequal distribution of the resources available to health practitioners and patients, whether in home visits, in the surgery, at the outpatient clinic or on hospital wards. However, interactionism offers neither a theory of power nor a theory of patterns of inequality. Rather, it explains power and inequality as functions of the relative strength of the personalities of the parties to the medical encounter.

The Black Report (1982), an evaluation of Britain's National Health Service and its impact on the health of the population, highlighted four different types of explanation for class differences in health. These four explanations are artefact, social selection, cultural explanations and structural materialist.

The artefact explanations of health inequalities believe the idea that the relationship between class and health is artificial rather than real. It comes either through the measurement of social class and/or health, or in the measurement of the relationship between the two. While many problems relating to the measurement of health inequalities remain to be resolved, there is overwhelming evidence to refute the claim that health inequalities are artefactual. The Artefact approach believes that the statistic about class and health exaggerate the real situation (Moore, 2008, p. 258).

The structural materialist’s

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