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Health

Social Science Perspectives

Learning Goals
1.

The Anthropological Perspective


a.
b.

2.

Comparing types of culture


History of health

The Sociological Perspective

Anthro. Health
1.

Comparing domestic scale cultures to


modern industrial cultures

Domestic scale (amazon tribe)

kinship based societies


production is on the household level

People in this setting are typically healthy


Why?

Low fat diets


Isolation from outside viruses
They avoid illness

Anthro. Health
Modern Industrial societies
People kept healthy by developing
sophisticated cures for diseases
At much higher risk of disease
Why?

Declining social cohesion


Increasing stress
Poor diets
Sedentary living

Anthro. Health
2. History of Health data sheet

Anthro. Health
The meeting of agricultural and industrial
Old World and New World

View video Guns Germs and Steel


ep.2 39-49min

Socio. Health
Within Canada, Sociologists look at how:
1. Social Structures
2. Allocation of resources and
3. Social practices
Work together to affect overall health
The main findings support the need to shift
from a medical intervention model to a
health promotion model

Comparing Perspectives
Medical Intervention
- Resources should be
spent on developing
new medicines and
expanding treatment
availability
- We must research
new cures so doctors
can cure the sick
Think- write - answer

Health Promotion
- Resources should be
spent on prevention
and education
- We must adopt
healthy lifestyles to
reduce the risk of
becoming sick

What model to you think we favour in Canada? Why?


What examples of health promotion do you see?

Medical Intervention vs. Health Promotion

Which causes of death do you think could be reduced by health


promotion? Why?

Socio. Health
Sociological Perspectives:
Symbolic Interactionism
sickness and health are defined
differently around the world

Mental illness
Obesity
Centred on the definition of normal

S.I. focuses on peoples ideas of health and


illness

So how do we define health? How can we


compare one culture to another?

Life Expectancy

Definition: The expected number of


years of life remaining at a given
age (usually birth)
- can be greatly skewed by infant/
child mortality

Era

Life Expectancy at Birth


(years)

Upper Paleolithic

33

Neolithic[11]

20

Bronze Age and Iron Age[12]

26

Classical Greece[13]

28

Classical

Rome[13]

Pre-Columbian North
America[14]
Medieval Islamic Caliphate[15]
Medieval

Britain[16][17]

Early Modern Britain[12][19]

28

Life Expectancy at Older Age


At age 15, life expectancy an
additional 39 years (total age
54).[9][10]

At age 15, life expectancy an


additional 37 years (total age
52).

25-30
35+
30
25-40

Early 20th Century[20][21]

31

2010 world average[22]

67.2

At age 21, life expectancy an


additional 43 years (total age
64).[18]

Socio. Health
Sociological Perspectives:
Functionalist
For society to function well we need
people healthy
The Sick Role

Rights and Responsibilities


Sanctions
Gatekeepers

Socio. Health
Sociological Perspectives:
Conflict Theory

Global Stratification of Health Resources

Eg. Infant mortality


Eg. Cancer treatments

Monaco

1.80

Japan

2.21

Bermuda

2.47

220

Mali

109.08

221

Niger

109.98

222

Afghanistan

121.63

Four Corners
Our society is wasting millions of dollars a
year on cancer research.