Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Sick Role

Parsons theorised about the concept of the ‘sick role’ and wrote about its’ importance and place in society. He said that illness is a dysfunction because it impacts on the usual activities and roles of the individuals. One’s life is impacted by illness. Parsons mentioned that the ‘sick role’ is learned through socialization, and the things that one does when they are determined as ‘ill’ is indicated by the society they live in. Illness takes away an individual’s responsibilities and they are given the right to withdraw from social responsibilities and society in general. With that being said, Parsons went on to state that the individual who is in this role is also expected to try and find a way to solve their illness or they are viewed as deviant.
Parsons said that the roles of the individuals change when the ‘sick role’ is implemented. Doctors are expected to control and regulate sickness and act in best interests of the patients or anyone else who may be involved in the patient’s life. The doctor must follow a professional code of conduct. Parsons didn’t account for everything in the ‘sick role’ as he didn’t consider the possibility of chronic conditions or the problems that deviance labels may create.¬

1 comment:

  1. He also said that people must be kept "just generally healthy enough to perform social function"--it's not about healing people or empower them.

    People are kept in the sick role by 3 things:
    1) lack of technical knowledge - relying on a doctor
    2) may be physically unable to help themselves - relying on a doctor
    3) emotional involvement--the shock of the illness, the anxiety about the future - relying on a doctor

    these prevent objective reasoning, making people vulnerable and at the hands of a "doctor" - a drug salesman.

    From "Profession and Monopoly":

    Western medicine does not find the source of the problem, it only sells treatments, surgeries, and drugs, which keep people returning customers. Eastern/Traditional Chinese Medicine finds the source, heals with food, and understanding--making the person healthy and better able to stay healthy.

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