S207 2 January 2007 Week 1 These notes are incomplete.

Janet Shim Final Paper  theoretical problem or substantive topic. exercise in which we give thoughts about several different theories or theoretical approaches.  theoretical issue: theories about the role of health professions  or substantive topic What is theory? theory as tool to think with, to look at the world, lens through which we interpret the world. systematized way of interpreting a world that would otherwise look like a mass of random data attempt to explain why things are the way they are C. Wright Mills – theory taking place in every interaction on day-to-day basis  in conversation w/ Parsons, who had idea that he could come up w/ theory to explain the entire social system. in some ways, Mills was advocating populist sociology, and it really argued that theorizing was not the domain of the expert, but of the everyday woman and man. to understand how one’s individual biography accumulated and accrued and contributed to the history of a society. quality of mind that helps people to use info / reason to achieve summation of what is going on in the world and what is happening to them in that world. way society working = bidirectional; we’re not just placed in institutions, social forces don’t just have a life of their own irrespective of what we as individuals do.  sociological theorizing doesn’t need to be theorizing with a capital T; unsystematize it.  theories and concepts don’t merely describe “what is,” but “why it is” What is sociological theory? structural functionalism vs. conflict theories – more general orientations of how the world works, as opposed to tight, well-held together theories.  these orientations shaped the larger discipline of medical sociology  Parsons came out of a particular historical context – structural functionalism took off in post-WWII era (in reading these articles, distinguish between whether the author was trying to be descriptive and prescriptive)   functionalism – social order. influenced by bio theories re: homeostasis, equilibrium conflict theories –

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Marx never really took hold in the US. a lot of the social theorists were of the variety that eventually gave rise to functionalism, thinking of society as a social organism (Industrial Revolution metaphor, with cogs and parts) sociology of medicine Conrad’s definitions identity crises that medical sociologists have – applied vs. academic sociologists of medicine take an outsider’s stance, whether or not you’re outside of medicine, it almost doesn’t matter institutionally where you’re located – it’s more an intellectual position you take. are you asking why that’s being defined the way it’s being defined? how far along in the thought process are you willing to take for granted? (reword). more of an orientational/intellectual stance.  historically relevant ex: compliance. originally, social scientists in health/med were asked to find out how to maximize compliance w/ med advice. a sociologist in medicine might accept that as a perfunctory goal and figure out how to improve compliance. a sociologist of medicine would ask how do we define compliance? why is it a worthy goal? what you’re accepting is radically different.  in Freidson’s account, in order to be a sociologist, he had to maintain an actual location and intellectual orientation outside of medicine medical sociology coming about through a series of phases sociology of medicine distinguished from medical sociology and sociology of health and illness what is distinctive about a sociological approach to health and medicine? contextualizing medicine how did medical sociology come about as a subdiscipline? 19 century – beginnings of social medicine, social hygiene, public health. some of medical sociology’s roots came out of that kind of tradition WWII – med soc was not a subdiscipline, but what was happening eventually coalesced into med soc. health care financing – people outside sociology began seeing social science as being of use
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what came out of the Industrial Revolution and its aftermath.. is a new social form emerging? or are we just shifting to another kind of capitalist system? lot of debate about what kind of society we’re in now. postmodern? high modernity?