Conflict and Interactionism
Discussion of health care institution
Discussion of theories
In this research presentation sociological theories functionalism, conflict and interactionism with applications in the health care institution particularly in United States of America will be explored. Health care institutions across the world embrace interpretations of sickness, wellness, disease, medicine, nurse, nursing, healing, well-being and many other issues, which analysts find difficulty to classify within the science. Many irregularities are occurring within health care institutions across American under managed care typology producing immense conflict and citizens are taking an Interactionist approach at resolving them.
Impacts of Sociological theories, Functionalism,
Conflict and Interactionism
This research addresses sociological theories functionalism, conflict and interactionism with applications in the health care institution particularly in United States of America. At first health care as an institution will be evaluated. Subsequently, major assumptions pertaining to functionalism, conflict and interactionism will be highlighted. Ultimately, an analysis of the health care institution will be embraced with regards to how these theoretical assumptions are applicable to its operations. Importantly, it is this author’s perspective that the sociology of effective health care in any country encompasses a profound understanding of how theories of functionalism, conflict and interactionism are applied to social institutions’ structure and function.
Discussion of health care institution
The sociology of health care across the world embraces interpretations of sickness, wellness, disease, medicine, nurse, nursing, healing, well-being and many other issues, which analysts find difficulty to classify within the science. Institutions generally are systems, mechanisms or structures designed by the social administration defining boundaries within which a person can conduct a practice or engage in an interaction. Sociologically, their purpose has been described as measures utilized in creating social order with a society. The concept is also applied to individual/ group customs, rituals and celebrations (Vissing, 2011).
In underdeveloped and developing nations like the Caribbean, India and Pakistan sociology of health care as an institution embraces provision of a service to society. According to World Health Organization health care systems are expected to be organizations designs meet the health needs of the nation’s population. Even though it may vary from one country to the next essentially, planning health care could either be distributed among market participants or executed from governments centrally as well as or other coordinating bodies (Sheaff, 2005).
Whatever the pattern developed World Health Organization (WHO) insists that an efficient health care system entails execution within propound economic boundaries/strategies. It also implicates efficient work force trained and licensed to practice the discipline. Besides, frequent research engagement to ensure reliable practice evidenced based information is essential towards making appropriate decisions and designing effective. Also, physical structures such as hospitals clinics, along with the mechanism to deliver quality medicines through current technology are mandatory (Sheaff, 2005).
However, in reality many countries do not adhere to World Health Organizations mandates to the letter as it relates to institutional health care management across the world. There have been immense discussions regarding health disparities and how to mend gaps. Also, social determinants of health have been high on the agenda of both developed and developing nations. Developed nations such as United States of America focus on the cost of health care where the consumer carries costs, which are not covered under Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances, while managed care strategies determine what type of care certain individuals in the society can receive. Ultimately, disease such as diabetes, hypertension, HIV/AIDS are rampant among numerous minorities who do not have health insurance and are at the mercy of managed care systems (Cox, 2010).
Insidiously, life expectancy rates of American drop to number twelve among developed nations as hospice care gains momentum since so many patients have been render incurable and left to die due to either inadequate health care or none. The scenario in developing nations is slightly different however even though it might be advanced that they do have the best scientific evidenced based interventions within their health care structure. The difference might be that whatever quality health care is available within that geographic location it is accessible to everyone in the society irrespective of class, ethnicity, gender or social status (Kongstvedt, 2011).
It must be understood when evaluating American health care specifically, that there is a distasteful segregation history among minorities known as blacks in those days. This group was not allowed to visit the same health care facilities as their white masters/ counterparts. Therefore, as white supremacy reigned groups in the society were marginalized to the extent of making quality health care inaccessible them. In the twenty-firs centry, the sociology of America health care institution is one whereby even though in the law books segregation has been abolished in reality it is being practiced in health care under the paradigm of managed care (Kongstvedt, 2011).
Managed care is described as a series of techniques used by health care administration to reduce cost health care while attempting to provide better quality care. A structural characteristic worth considering is utilizing a panel or network of health care providers that provides health to enrollees. As such, if a client/ patient desire to see a doctor/provider outside of that network it is prohibited. The service is perceived as integrated and includes ‘a set of designated doctors and health care facilities, known as a provider network, which furnish an array of health care services to enrollees’ ( Cox, 2010, pp.106) besides rigorous standards for selecting providers and an emphasis on prevention rather than cure (Cox, 2010).
Importantly, in summarizing health care as an institution across the world and in United States of America it makes sense for a sociological perspective to embrace the paradigm that health care administration and regulation are functional. Conflict is initiated through a symbolic interaction approach among those likely to receive basic care distinct from those entitled to and expect adequate interventions. This seems not to matter in developing neither under developed nations since most of these populations take responsibility for maintaining health through diet and natural remedies, which are prohibited among developed nations. Hence, it can also be posited that accessibility to institutionalized health care in developed nations is difficult where as traditional heal care practice are available to all people developing and underdeveloped nations (St Sauver, Warner, Yawn, 2013).
Discussion of theories
Consequently, in exploring functionalist, conflict and interactionists applications to the health care sociological institution explaining the similarities and differences; first assumptions of each theory must be clarified before being aligned. Functionalists perceive society from a macro level and institutions like organs in the human body function towards integrating functions of the entire body. Precisely, one institutions support the other and if there is dysfunction in one inevitably manifestations filter throughout the entire body/ society (Vissing, 2011). .
In relation to health care it must be understood when applying functionalism that its operations affect other institutions in society and others affect it as well. For example, when politicians speak about affordable health care this indicates that health care influences quality of social life and the economic institutions. Insidiously, education, law, politics all are impacted when health care fails to function efficiently to serve the nations (Vissing, 2011).
Conflict theory advances that when institutions fail in their function conflicts arise. They perceive social institutions’ function from a micro level unlike functionalism, which views institutions as a whole unit. Karl Marx (1912) conceived conflict emerging from the paradigm of unequal distribution of resources. Health care services are the resources health care institutions use to function efficiently. In situations where health care becomes inaccessible conflict is expressed with that microcosm of events. Doctors go on strike, nurse walk off the jobs and protests regarding a malfunctioning health care system ensue (Vissing, 2011).
The difference between functionalism and conflict perceptions in health care is that functionalists view irregularities as a sign that the system needs adjusting while conflict sees it as dysfunction or conflict, which must be addressed from a riotous paradigm. Similarly, both theories support institutions which function effectively providing equal access to available resources. Karl Marx (1912) the father of conflict perspective also viewed conflict emerging from dissatisfaction with those who own the means of production. In modern developed society clearly the owners of means of production include politicians who make decisions for the health care of minorities including elder over the age 65 children whose parents cannot afford health insurance and the poor afflicted with the same impoverish disease (Vissing, 2011).
Interactionism ultimately places what functions and dysfunctions into the assumption of how people interpret/interact with health care symbols in their environment and the meanings they have to them. Medicine is an interactive symbol signifying cure or health when needed. Interactionists posit that people respond to institutions based on what they mean to them. Health Care definitely has meaning for the population. This is the reason why people seek medical help or herbal/home remedies when feeling ill. According to World health organization health is not merely the absence of disease, but total mental, physical and social wellbeing (Cox, 2010). Hence, this is the relationship health care has established with society because the meaning of health as an institution emerged from individuals’ involvement with doctors, nurses and even politicians whom promise affordable health care (Knowles & Owen, 2010).
How does each theory affect the views of the individual who is part of the institution? People especially, functionalists view health care merely as another institution. Whether it functions to satisfy the needs of the masses or not this is not important. Whatever services health care offers are functional highlighting the nature of society. Persons with a conflict theorist paradigm would engage in protests, write petitions and become strong advocates for justice because the perception would be one of exploitation of the poor. In the American society arguments have been that tax payers should not have to pay such high health care costs especially the elderly. Their contention is that politicians are exploiting health care participants. Interactionists are grieved at the plight that while United States of American is highly advance in health care science and research still the masses cannot access quality health care due to cost constants and managed care restrictions (Knowles & Owen, 2010).
How does each theory affect the approach to social change within the selected institution? The approaches to social change differ in the sense that functionalists allow change to happen insidiously because irregularities are functional. Conflict theorists forge change into being through revolution. For example, they would begin campaigns and create a government shutdown initiating the change needed. It is believed that they must make the change happen by taking violent action sometimes. Interactionists disassociate themselves from the dysfunction since health care institutions gain new meaning. They seek alternatives. For example, an Interactionist will look outside of America for better health care exampled by people moving to India for cosmetic surgery (Knowles & Owen, 2010). .
Within the Sociological institution selected, how does each theory affect the views of society?
In my opinion each view affects society from the premise of whether it is developed, underdeveloped or developing. Expectations of developed society pertaining to health care institutions are often higher than those of developing and underdeveloped. Precisely to whom much is given more is required. People in developing and underdeveloped countries accept that the resources available are what they receive and social administration is doing its best to provide quality health care. In these countries the cost is either free or affordable since citizens pay taxes, which are expected to provide these services. Hence, for this group health care is functional and they interact with it from that level of meaning. Developed nations such as United states of America many institution operate at a conflict level because citizen have to pay twice for it due to privatization of services (Knowles & Owen, 2010).
This research began from the premise that the sociology of effective health care in any country encompasses a profound understanding of how theories of functionalism, conflict and interactionism are applied to social institutions’ structure and function. Applications of functionalism, conflict and interactionism theoretical during this research discussion drawing on incidences occurring in both developed and developing societies proved this thesis a valid assumption. Many irregularities are occurring within health care institutions across American under managed care typology producing immense conflict. However, most developing and underdeveloped nations health care institutions are functional since the population seems satisfied with their quality of health care since they can freely supplement scientific medicine with traditional ones as part of their Interactionist paradigm.
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