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?
Social Divisions in Formal Health Care
[Page 165]Social class, gender and ethnicity are typically divisive because of differences in the degree of social status and power accorded to them. Social status, usually conferred through birth or profession, is defined by Weber (1995: 155) as ‘claims on positive or negative privileges in regard to social prestige’ that are gained when such privileges become part of everyday life, and when, through formal education, that way of life becomes assimilated.
Social divisions occur when such privileges are unequally distributed between all groups of people. This ...