Medicine as a Form of Social Control
This critique will examine the view that medicine is a form of social
control. There are many theorists that have different opinions on this
view. This critique will discuss each one and their different views.
We live in a society where there is a complex division of labour and
where enormous varieties of specialist healing roles are recognised.
We attribute to our modern healers a great deal of power, and trust
that they will use it for our benefits rather than to harm us.
Professional codes of ethics are promises that doctors will use their
knowledge to benefit patients. The sociologist Talcott Parsons (1951)
described what he considered the essential point of this contract.
These rights, obligations and privileges are standards of behaviour,
which Parsons felt people in American society believed desirable in
the 1940s. The sociological term for such a standard of behaviour is a
People in modern Britain acts in a certain way that is seen as
appropriate for ill people. In the 1950s, Parsons (1951) outlined the
norms that govern illness behaviour and professional responses to it,
in modern society. He also saw the patient - doctor relationship as a
social system, governed by norms about appropriate behaviour. Also,
Parsons (1951) claimed illness as disruptive, a kind of deviance and
is therefore potentially disruptive to the social order. Parsons saw
society as a functioning whole, and was concerned with how the social
order was maintained, and how various institutions in society in the
case health care institution function...
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...power, which extend
throughout the whole of society. He described what he called the
clinical gaze as having moved beyond the hospital and the clinic into
many and diverse sites such as our schools, workplaces, and homes. For
Foucault (1973) the clinical gaze was a facet of a new kind of power,
which relied on surveillance and inspection.
In conclusion, this critique has critically examined the view that
medicine is a form of social control. Discussing the views of
theorists such as Talcott Parsons, Ivan Illich, Narvarro, Irving Zola
and Foucault. These theorists have views about how dominating medicine
can be in society, the power of the professionals and medicalisation
how it refers social problems into medical problems. Throughout this
critique, it has been made clear that medicine is a form of social