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By Uta Gerhardt

A ebook at the heritage of rules of clinical sociology that is a part of a sequence, designed to narrate a variety of empirical components to critical difficulties of sociological idea. This quantity goals to supply an outline of sociology's conceptualization of illness.

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Extra info for Ideas about Illness: An Intellectual and Political History of Medical Sociology

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This is the only acknowledgment in the secondary literature that there is more than one explanatory scheme in Parsons' writings (with the exception of Gerhardt, 1979a). However, Gallagher overlooks how important for Parsons are the concepts of 'secondary gain' in sickness incumbency and 'unconscious psychotherapy' in medical practice. Therefore reducing Parsons' ideas to the truncated scope of the adaptation model which seems to be solely perceived by most secondary literature does not seem a viable solution.

Systematically, Parsons locates illness neither with the cognitive nor evaluative side of social life (it does not denote either intellectual or moral failure). But he places it on the emotional or, to use his own term, cathectic side of the person-environment fit. , others' alleviating what they expect from the sick) are grounded in the fact 'not only ... that [the sick] may have physical disabilities, but that they are in various ways "emotionally" disturbed' (Parsons, 1951b, pp. 458/9). Illness as such is characterised by three negative achievements: passivity (in a predominantly active society), helplessness (in a society where independence is in high regard), and emotional disturbance (in a ~orld of means-end rationality where emotionally neutral relationships prevail in politics and the economy : See 1951a, p.

67). Therefore role and task capacity involve both somatic functioning and social action. Breakdown disrupts a person's normality on either level: 'Health and illness, as human phenomena, [are] both organic and sociocultural' (Parsons, 1978a, p. 81). Sociology is concerned more with the latter than the former. Its specific subject area is society analysed as a social system constituted by roles. This directs the sociologist's interest towards what are the conditions of satisfactory fulfilment of role expectations.

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