Positivist theory: By August Comp
Basic tenets: Objective truth can be discovered only through scientific study.-Society operates by absolute laws or “social facts” that can be measured.
Methods used: Quantitative Methods (Surveys, statistics, etc.).“Bird’s eye” view of social life. Seeks to answer “how many” or “how likely” questions.
In Medical sociology: Concerned with measuring “risk factors” for illness or unhealthy behaviors
We can uncover the laws and reach a better society by discovering these laws which are called social facts. The methods are quantitative/ numerical. Society is a machine with several parts that work together. Durkheim did the suicide rate and found that male protestants are more likely to commit suicide. He looked at social causes. They don’t care about choice, they predict and control, look at cause and effect and independent vs. dependent variables. E.g if parents/most friends smoke, the individual is more likely to smoke
Interpretive theory: By Max Weber. He thought positivitism was egoistical.
Basic Tents: Truth is subjective and constructed by people.-The way society operates is constantly changing through social interaction.
Methods used: Qualitative Methods (Interviews, ethnography, etc.).“Worm’s eye” view of social life (people’s perspective). Seeks to answer “why” questions.
In Medical Sociology: Concerned with the meanings attached to health and illness and how these meanings change over time and across cultures. Also, associated with stigma.
Critical theory: By Karl Max and the most modern
Basic Tenets: Science like other ideologies, has been used as an instrument of oppression. It isn’t finding truth that is important, but achieving equal rights.
Methods used: Any method can be used with the goal of positive social change.
In Medical Sociology: Concerned with health inequalities and critical of the capitalist model of health care. They look at poor vs. wealthy, men vs. women, educated vs non-educated, et.c
Social Construction of Illness: A theoretical perspective which holds that groups of people produce their own conceptions of reality and that knowledge itself is a product of social dynamics. In other words, many of the things we treat as natural are actually socially created. For the medical profession, disease is a biological condition, universal and unchanging. Hence, illness is socially constructed. Falls under interpretive theory.
Thomas theorem: “If men define situations as real, then they are real in their consequences”. Thomas also contributed the phrase “definition of the situation”, meaning that whatever counts as real in any given situation is a result of the consensus reached by the parties. Together these statements formed the social construction of reality.
Medicalization: The process by which human behaviors, conditions and problems become the object of medical study, diagnosis and treatment. These things were formerly seen as deviant, sin and crime e.g racism, homosexuality, drapetomania, drug addiction, alchoholism, gambling. Natural things such as insomnia, birth, thin eyelashes, low testosterone and natural agin process have become medicalized.
5 steps of medicalization:
1. Definition: defined as deviant
2. Prospection: the thing defined as deviant is now being defined as medical.
3. Moral entrepreneurship: people who could benefit from this definition e.g pharmaceutical sales, doctors, spreading the word.
4. Legitimacy and Consolidation: After being recognized by the population, the government finally recognizes it.
5. Institutionalized: It’s now a “fact”/ evidence or widely accepted.
Historical/ Cultural factors contributing to medicalization: Why is it that what was natural became medical? It started in the late 1800’s and 1900’s, due to several factors:
-Economy: growth of the industrial class, can afford