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4 – HSC CM7: Sociological Perspectives in Health and Social Care

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1.1. Summarise the sociological approach to the study of human behaviour.

The sociological approach to the study of human behaviour is based on the idea that our social interactions and relationships are shaped by the society we live in. Our behaviour is thus a product of the cultural, economic and political institutions we interact with on a daily basis. This approach emphasises the importance of understanding how our individual actions contribute to wider patterns of social behaviour.

Social cohesion can be described as the level of unity, solidarity and agreement within a group or society. Strong social cohesion results in members of the group or society working together to improve the lives of all.

Culture is the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organisation of a particular group of people, while subculture is a smaller group within a larger group; this group could either be for good or otherwise, but all groups are bonded by norms and values that all group members follow. Norms can be defined as behaviour and attitude that are considered normal, while values are those things that people consider important to them. In a society, there are institutions that are in charge of bringing up society through different processes of socialisation; these institutions include the family, the education system, the government, and religious organisations.

A family is a unit of people related by blood or through adoption. It is the first point of contact for children where they learn to eat, speak and understand other basic activities like potty training which must be done before the child starts school. It is also from the family that they learn the simple norms of society.

Education is the institution in charge of instilling knowledge, how to read and write, and also imparting norms that are required to be a responsible citizen of their community.

The government and its agencies, the justice system, the police, and others are in charge of making laws governing society, keeping the peace, and punishing criminal elements in society; they are also in charge of ensuring that society is working in order with all basic amenities in place.

Religion is the institution that stands as a place of refuge for its worshippers, and it deals with beliefs and behaviour that help society to achieve some of its basic needs. It also teaches values like charity to its members, and the institution is characterised by ways different ways of worship and other characteristics.

Social roles are an important part of the sociological approach to understanding human behaviour. These are the expected behaviours associated with a particular social position, and they can vary greatly from one culture to another. For example, in some cultures it is expected that men will be the breadwinners and women will stay at home to care for the children. In other cultures, these roles may be reversed.

Other answers in the full document:

  • 1.2. Describe sociological perspectives.
  • 1.3. Describe in relation to health and social care:
    – Social realism
    – Social constructionism
    – Labelling theory
  • 1.4. Describe the biomedical, social and ecological models of health and well-being.
  • 2.1. Explain the social classes recognised in own Home Nation.
  • 2.2. Explain patterns of health across social classes.
  • 2.3. Explain how demographic data is used in planning health and social care services.
  • 2.4. Explain sociological explanations for the patterning of mortality and morbidity rates in the demographic groups:
    – Gender
    – Age
    – Ethnicity
    – Area of residence

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