Social Construction Of Self Essay Ideas

Health as a Social Construction

  • Length: 823 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Health as a Social Construction


In my essay, I aim to find out why social construction affects the
health of our society. Ill health may be defined as 'a bodily or
mental state that is deemed undesirable'. This means that health is
the condition of the body both physically and mentally.

Social construction of health refers to the way health varies from one
society to another. Social construction refers to the statistics like
the morbidity and mortality rate of our society. Our gender, class,
ethnicity, religion and even education construct society, these all
determine our experience of reality.

An example of how sociologists have tried to deconstruct health in
society is looking at the theories of sociologists like Leslie (1980).
She developed the '3 Fold model of Health'. She researched and
developed her concept by looking at health in different
countries/cultures. The first model, 'Mechanistic Model', is a concept
identifying the body as a machine and was applied to the Western
society.

The 'Bio Medical Model' is also linked with the mechanistic model,
where illness is seen as a nuisance and causes the 'machine' to break
down and even stop working completely. Through Helman's study we can
see that although we know how we catch a cold i.e. germs, lay
perceptions still exist despite the Bio Medical model. Helman's study
demonstrates that variations of health still exist within our society.

Two types of illnesses related to this are chronic illness
(lasting/terminal) and acute illness (minor e.g. the flu). Criticism
of the mechanistic model is that it is slightly simplistic and may not
always apply because the body cannot always be repaired.

The second model is the 'Naturalistic Model', which refers to the
notion of equilibrium. In order for the body to remain healthy, there
must be a balance. Chinese medicine relies greatly on this notion i.e.
Yin (cold) and Yang (hot). This notion is often used in alternative
medicine.

The third model is the 'Ethical Model' which states that illness is
sent by a divine force, like a punishment for the persons wrong doings

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Health as a Social Construction." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Mar 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=121265>.

LengthColor Rating 
AIDS and Heterosexuals in the Australian Essay - Study Overview The study entitled From complacency to panic: AIDS and heterosexuals in the Australian press, July 1986 to June 1988 (Lupton, 1992) reports on the preliminary findings from a content analysis of AIDS news coverage in Australian press from June 1986 to July 1988. When revealing the preliminary varying ideologies in press, Lupton stresses the importance of evaluating how the popular media selects and presents news according to societal interests. Lupton (1992) seeks to point out the common situation in Australia that most people lies on information reported by the media rather than by health professionals....   [tags: homosexual, health, social construction]
:: 5 Works Cited
1625 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Health, Ethics and Society Essay - Social science is defined as “the scientific study of human society and social relationships”. (Oxford Dictionaries 2013a) It is important to understand that different people would interact differently, giving rise to different different culture, social norms, beliefs and religions. By improving our understanding and awareness, we would be able to treat patients more efficiently and effectively whilst respecting their culture and beliefs. There is an increasing number of diseases and societal problems such as addiction, obesity, violence and end-of-life care that cannot be addressed without taking into account the behavioural or social factors....   [tags: morality, social construction, ethical dilemma]
:: 30 Works Cited
2607 words
(7.4 pages)
Research Papers[preview]
The Social Construction of Childhood Essay - While all societies acknowledge that children are different from adults, how they are different, changes, both generationally and across cultures. “The essence of childhood studies is that childhood is a social and cultural phenomenon” (James, 1998). Evident that there are in fact multiple childhoods, a unifying theme of childhood studies is that childhood is a social construction and aims to explore the major implications on future outcomes and adulthood. Recognizing childhood as a social construction guides exploration through themes to a better understanding of multiple childhoods, particularly differences influencing individual perception and experience of childhood....   [tags: Social Issues, Children]
:: 5 Works Cited
2204 words
(6.3 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
The Social Construction of Fibromyalgia Essay - The Social Construction of Fibromyalgia “With so many people in so much pain, how could fibromyalgia not be a disease?” (Groopman 3) This question regarding the “condition of persistent muscle pain throughout the body, pain that is often accompanied by severe fatigue, insomnia, diarrhea and abdominal bloating, bladder irritation, and headache,” now known as fibromyalgia raises some rather interesting yet complicated issues in today’s health care field such as: What criteria must be met in order for a symptom or a set of symptoms, as is the case here, to be classified as an illness or a disorder....   [tags: essays research papers]1388 words
(4 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
The Medical Construction of Obesity Essays - Introduction: One hundred and forty-seven billion dollars. This is the estimated cost of obesity in the United States (CDC, 2013). Today, obesity is on trend to being one of the biggest public health challenges since tobacco (Perry & Creamer, 2013). In 2010 33.7% of US adults and 17% of children aged 2-19 were considered obese (CDC, 2013). While obesity is rising at an exponential rate, there is disconnect between how society views and defines obesity and the actual medical costs and future health risks the disease holds (ACSM, 2010)....   [tags: obesity and public health]
:: 11 Works Cited
1550 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Gender Role In Social Construction Essay - Gender Role In Social Construction Works Cited Missing      Everyone’s life is affected by social construction. This is the belief that knowledge is determined by society, and in turn (knowledge) is formed by the individuals that belong to the society. When an individual thinks of a doctor, lawyer, priest, engineer, or manager they usually picture males. While nurses, teachers, and housewives (emphasis on wives) are purely female professions in our society. This is social constructionist thought on what role a male/female should play in today’s society....   [tags: Gender Socialization Sex Essays Media]1178 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
The Great Health Care Debate Essay - The health care debate currently roiling through our legislature and news media hits close to home for every American. We are all human and thus share basic health needs. I decided to interview my father to learn more about this debate as he has a rather unique perspective on the matter. My father is sixty two years old; an American citizen for the past twenty years and a legal resident for over thirty. He hails from Colombia and still has many family members there and visits two or more times per year....   [tags: Health Care]1761 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Green versus Non-Green Construction Essay examples - The issue of this paper is green versus non-green construction and focusing in on the health and safety of the construction workers during the building process. Green constructions projects have been a fast growing trend leading for a quick change of how construction practices and causes a higher risk for injury or fatalities for the workers There is a common misconception where it is believed that green and sustainable are the same.. In order to properly determine whether a company has safer work environments depending on the classification of green or not, there need to be a clarification on what the term green actually means....   [tags: health, safety, workers, practice, environment]
:: 6 Works Cited
831 words
(2.4 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
Construction of the Self Essay - Construction of the Self How does one create the “self”. How do we form as individuals. Whether a person is male or female, white or black, rich or poor, tall or short, pretty or ugly, fat or skinny, the most important factor is the development of the “self”. The self refers to the unique set of traits, behaviors, and attitudes that distinguishes one person from another (Newman 283). To distinguish between oneself from others, one must be able to recognize their unique traits and characteristics....   [tags: Papers]1195 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay about Madness as An Individual Attribute Or A Process Of Social Construction - Madness as An Individual Attribute Or A Process Of Social Construction Madness is a largely contentious issue for a variety of reasons, comprising of operational discrepancies and its implications for wider society. In a very rudimentary sense madness implies a state of insanity beyond the control or will of the person considered to be mad. This however presupposes the existence of madness as tangible or concrete phenomena and dismisses the possibility that 'madness' may simply be the product or expression of alternate truths or different expressions of reality....   [tags: Papers]2727 words
(7.8 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Social Construction         Chinese Medicine         Chronic         Bodily         Sociologists         Germs         Illnesses         Always         Notion        




e.g. AIDS, Epilepsy, Homosexuality and so on.

By looking at Leslie's 3 Fold Model theory, it can be said that health
is a social construction because not all figures reflect the actual
illness in the society. It can be seen, by looking at the Naturalistic
Model, that not all statistics are accounted for when trying to find
the morbidity rate. Some people may follow the Naturalistic Model, and
therefore may not go to the doctor to find out what is wrong with
them. Figures such as these are not mentioned in statistics and hence,
favour the Mechanistic Model.

Berger and Luckman (1966) favoured an interpretive perspective when
looking at the social construction of illness. Their book, The Social
Construction of Reality' analyses the idea of mortality varying
because of social class rather than trying to explain it on biological
terms.

W.H.O (World Health Organisation, 1984) proposed a different concept
of health. They proposed that health is a resource for everyday life
but is not however the objective of living. '…It is a positive concept
emphasising social and personal resources as well as physical
differences…'

Health may vary from society to society due to the political and
social state of a particular country. Foucault used this as a basis
for his theory. He proposed the idea that health is merely economic
and political, and not social. An example of this could be mental
health. Some people may be seen as mentally ill if they did not
believe in the politics of a particular country. This meant that they
were jailed and put into isolation even though they were not mentally
ill, but were overpowered by an elite force. His theory is still
useful today, and questions the official statistics because this idea
is not accounted for.

Evans and Pritchard (1980) were anthropologists who studied a small
society called the Azande. Within the Azande society when a person is
ill, they visit the Sheman (witch doctor). Illness is seen as the
consequence of an evil spirit. The Sheman looks at the chicken
entrails (guts) to determine who cast this spell on the person.
Accusations are made and the spell is lifted and the person becomes
better. This study shows how a particular culture may affect the state
of a person's health and also how it is treated.

Blaxter and Patterson (1982) studied class and health within society.
Women in the study reported themselves as ill only when they could no
longer perform their daily tasks despite discomfort and disability
many reported their health as satisfactory e.g. one woman was
interviewed and was found to have been sterilised, taking Valium and
on disability benefits, but yet she still described her health as
satisfactory. This study brings to light how the individual actually
defines illness because this can affect the outcome of particular
statistics and measure their validity.

When looking at statistics I noticed that illness is only regarded
important on a larger scale. Sharma conducted a small-scale study on
people who used small-scale medicine. They interviewed people who used
alternative medicine within a 12-month period and who lived in Stoke
On Trent. People who use alternative medicine are not covered because
figures are only shown of people who go to the doctor are registered.

[IMAGE]In conclusion I would say that is definite that illness is
socially constructed. This is because different societies regard
health differently, alternative medicines are not accounted for in
official figures, and the social and economic state of that particular
society may affect the way illness is dealt with. Many sociologists
have identified how illness varies from each society, favouring the
idea of social construction. There are still faults with the social
constructionist theory i.e. social constructionist's make a judgement
about health, denying the input of science, where as figures are
factual and have strong evidence in order to support their outcome.

Bibliography:

§ Sociology, biology and health…by Yanina Sheeran

§ Class notes

§ World Book Dictionary



For centuries, philosophers and sociologists have pondered the idea of reality. Sociologists generally accept that reality is different for each individual.

The term social construction of reality refers to the theory that the way we present ourselves to other people is shaped partly by our interactions with others, as well as by our life experiences. How we were raised and what we were raised to believe affect how we present ourselves, how we perceive others, and how others perceive us. In short, our perceptions of reality are colored by our beliefs and backgrounds.

Our reality is also a complicated negotiation. What is real depends on what is socially acceptable. Most social interactions involve some acceptance of what’s going on. While we participate in the construction of reality, it’s not entirely a product of our own doing.

Example: A wealthy individual, whose basic survival needs are met many times over, buys his pets gourmet, organic food that costs more per week than the weekly earnings of a minimum-wage worker. He is proud that he is able to take such good care of his animals and insists that it’s the right thing to do if one really loves one’s pets. After all, his vet was the one who recommended that he buy that brand. A minimum-wage worker who loads that food into the rich person’s car might feel anger when he realizes how much money this individual spends on his pets. The minimum-wage worker might fume that this man’s pets eat better than he does. He might wonder whether this rich man has any concept of reality.

How we define everyday situations depends on our respective backgrounds and experiences. The wealthy individual has learned through interactions with others that spending money on one’s pets is a worthy expense. His reality is one of pride. The minimum-wage worker has learned through interactions with others spending that much money on a pet is a negative thing, so his perception of the situation is entirely different.

The Thomas Theorem

What is the “real” reality? Is buying a pet expensive food the right thing to do or a waste of money? According to sociologist W. I. Thomas, “if a person perceives a situation as real, it is real in its consequences.” This statement is also known as the Thomas Theorem. In other words, our behavior depends not on the objective reality of a situation but on our subjective interpretation of reality. The consequences and results of behavior make it real. For example, a teenager who is defined as deviant might begin to act deviant. He makes his label real.

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *