Health and Illness
When we think of health and illness, there is a general conception that it involves health habits such as exercise and eating the right food, as well as institutions such as hospitals and doctors. In Western societies it is commonly accepted that if we are ill it is a result of an infectious disease that can be cured by modern medicine, or is a result of genetics or lifestyle choices. Sociologists propose a different cause. They examine patterns within society, and they seek social rather than biological answers and suggest that the differences in health and illness between different groups within society is influenced by social, economic, cultural and political factors. It is from these observations that sociologists have concluded, "health is unevenly distributed in a systematic way (Introduction to Sociology A: Study Guide, 2000, p 53) ." This observation has been linked to class, gender, race, ethnicity and geographical location, in understanding why certain groups experience significantly different rates of illness. …
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