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White Notes for the Rest of the Semester 6. The Sick Role Key points It’s not “capitalism” it’s “modernity” More institutions than just the economy (, stupid!) Medicine, professionalism not reducible to market logics; actually counteract capitalist individualism To Be Sick: o Is not just to suffer a biological affliction o Means entering “the sick role” Parsonianism (functionalism) What makes solidarity and stability? We have roles and follow norms and participate in institutions which all work together to keep society as a whole running For Parsons, we make choices and act, not just react – we have agency not entirely determined by structure Parsons and the Professions Parsons had a view of medical professionals as practicing in universal ways – basically ‘objective’ and problem-focused, not prejudiced But this has been proven to be a bunch of dumb, cuz docs not so objective or impartial Note on the Sick Role It’s something we enter into – a social creation, not biological. In effect, it is somewhat voluntary...hence, being “sick” can be something people partially do to themselves to opt out of social responsibilities. o Society can leave you little alternative sometimes (Merton’s “structural strain” theory) It is ultimately controlled by medical professionals. You cannot truly be in the sick role without the stamp of “sick” by a trained professional. 7. Foucault and the Sociology of Medical Knowledge Key Points It’s something we enter into – a social creation, not biological. In effect, it is somewhat voluntary...hence, being “sick” can be something people partially do to themselves to opt out of social responsibilities. o Society can leave you little alternative sometimes (Merton’s “structural strain” theory) It is ultimately controlled by medical professionals. You cannot truly be in the sick role without the stamp of “sick” by a trained professional.
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  • Fall '12
  • Richter
  • Sociology,  Medicine,  Professionals

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