How do we understand health in relation to society? What role does culture play in shaping our experiences of, and orientation to, health and illness? How do we understand medicine and medical treatment within a sociological framework?
Chapter : Social Class
Hospitals and Health Care Organizations
From a socio-historical perspective, the doctor-patient relationship, or medical consultation, has been considered a form of health care organization. In his structural functionalist analyses of medical practice in mid-twentieth century USA, Parsons viewed the medical encounter and the regulation of illness as key to the smooth running of the social system, and within medical sociology the clinical consultation has for a long time represented a major topic. Going beyond consultations, the term ‘health care system’ signifies the wider organization of health care services for a given population. Such systems differ between nations with regard to organizing and financing and they may share unclear ...