Sociology of Health and Illness. Prof Elaine Denny. Key questions you might ask. What accounts for socio-economic inequalities in health? How do social structures, institutions and processes affect the health of individuals? What is the nature of the doctor-patient relationship
Prof Elaine Denny
In Australia it is claimed that Aboriginal people have higher rates of diabetes because they freely choose bad western foods such as potato chips, soft drinks and alcohol, for which they are not genetically ‘programmed’. They choose poor food (therefore it is their fault) + they are not genetically capable of processing Western food (the fault of their biology) + they are lazy or indifferent about their health (the fault of their culture)
The conclusion that policy makers, informed by this way of approaching the problem then reach is that it is the Aborigines’ problem that they are sicker and die sooner, and nothing can be done about it.
There is little evidence the social structures of class, gender, ethnicity and of inequality have stopped shaping people’s lives.
Society has become more unequal and the poor sicker.