Chapter 13

Report
Chapter 13
The Body, Medicine, and Health
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Body
• The Thinking of Michel Foucault (1926-1984;
French)
• In Discipline and Punish (1979) he is concerned
with the punishment of criminals’ bodies.
• In The Birth of the Clinic (1975) he analyzes how
medicine shifted from focusing on using lists to
diagnose diseases to focusing on human beings.
• The Sexual Body
• In The History of Sexuality (1980) he urged
people to focus on sexuality that pushed one’s
body to the limit in sexual experiences.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Healthy Body: Lifestyle,
Beauty, and Fitness
• Beauty: The Myth
• In The Beauty Myth (1991), Naomi Wolf argues
that the media confront the vast majority of
people with an unattainable standard of beauty.
• The Quest for the Ideal
• The rewards for being beautiful are so great that
many try to at least approximate the mythic ideal.
• Enormous sums are spent on fitness workouts,
cosmetics, and cosmetic surgeries.
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Inc.
The Healthy Body: Lifestyle,
Beauty, and Fitness
• The Consumption of Beauty
• Beauty has become a commodity that can be
bought through effort, pain, or with
expenditures of large sums of money.
• Fitness and the Healthy Body
• Physical activity, sports, and bodybuilding are
ways of obtaining a more beautiful, healthy
body.
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Inc.
Body Modifications
• Body modifications have been nearly
universal across societies and throughout
history.
• Body modifications, especially tattoos, are
becoming mainstream.
• Body modifications are a fashion statement.
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Inc.
Risky Behaviors
• Ulrich Beck (born in 1944; German) argues
that we live in a “risk society.”
• People take a wide range of risks that
jeopardize their health.
• Examples include what people do not do (not
having regular checkups with their physician)
and what they do (cigarette smoking).
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Medical sociology is the largest specialty
area within sociology.
• Medical sociology is concerned with the
“social consequences of health and illness.”
• Medical sociology addresses a wide variety
of specific issues including health inequalities
by social class, gender, and race-ethnicity.
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Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• The Sick
• The sick role are expectations of the way sick
people are supposed to act.
• The Medical Profession
• The medical profession has experienced
declining power as well as status and wealth.
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Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Weaknesses in the U.S. Healthcare System
• The United States spends about 16% of its GDP
on health care.
• Many people are forced into bankruptcy because
of their inability to pay their medical bills.
• In spite of money the United States spends on its
healthcare system, its life expectancy is 50th in
the world.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Inequalities in U.S. Health Care
• Social Class and Health
• The lower one’s social class, the poorer one’s
health is likely to be.
• Race and Health
• Overall, whites tend to have better health than
blacks and Hispanics, but this is closely tied to the
relationship between social class and health.
• Gender and Health
• While women live longer than men, there is a
widespread view that they have poorer health than
men.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Healthcare Reform in the United States
• New healthcare legislation was enacted into
law in 2010. Some of its key aspects are:
• By 2019, approximately 96% of Americans will
have health insurance.
• Virtually all Americans will be required to have
health insurance (or they will be fined).
• Employers with more than 50 employees will be
required to provide health insurance for them or be
fined.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Consumerism and Health Care
• Attention is shifting from the producers of
health care (medical professionals, medical
insurance companies, etc.) to consumers of
that care.
• Prosumers and DIY Health Care
• Increasingly, patients shop around for
physicians and treatments.
• Pharmaceutical companies now advertise
directly to consumers.
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Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• The Internet and the Consumption of
Health Care
• The Internet is allowing people to find
healthcare providers (including information
about them) more easily.
• More information about healthcare-related
data can be found on the Internet.
• Consumer/patients can shop for medical care
on the Internet in much the same way they
shop for automobiles.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Digitizing Medical Records and Televisits
• Denmark is one of the countries in the
forefront of digital medicine. The United
States lags far behind.
• Telemedicine makes it possible for patients to
use simple medical technologies (like blood
pressure monitors) from their home, and have
a teleconference with their doctor.
• At the “NowClinic” patients and doctors
communicate using video chat.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Globalization and Health
• Growing Global Inequality
• Globalization has tended to widen
global disparities in health.
• People in poor nations tend to have
poorer health as a result of limited
access to health care.
• There is a 19-year gap in life
expectancy between high- and lowincome countries.
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Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Globalization and Health
• Disease
• The vast majority of acute and chronic diseases occur
at younger ages in low- and middle-income countries.
• Malnutrition
• There are roughly 850 million people in the world who
suffer disproportionately from hunger and
malnutrition.
• Undernutrition is a form of malnutrition involving an
inadequate intake of nutrients including calories,
vitamins, and minerals.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Globalization and Health
• Smoking
• A highly profitable tobacco industry continues to
be central to the global economy.
• India accounts for almost one third of the world’s
tobacco-related deaths.
• China consumes about 30% of the world’s
cigarettes and many Chinese appear to have
little knowledge of the health hazards associated
with smoking.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Globalization and Health: Borderless
Diseases
•
•
•
•
HIV/AIDS
Malaria
Tuberculosis
Avian Flu
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Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• The Impact of War on Health
• Four times as much is spent in the developing
world on the military than is spent on health and
education.
• Warfare has a measurable effect on mental
health.
• People who live near war zones tend to suffer
injuries, even if they are doing no fighting.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Sociology of Health and
Medicine
• Globalization and Improvements in Health
and Health Care
• Globalization has brought with it an array of
development that should improve the quality of
health throughout the world.
• There is a ready flow of new ideas associated
with health and health care.
• Online medical journals flash around the world
virtually instantaneously.
• Pharmaceuticals are becoming a global
phenomenon.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.

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