Sociology of Health Illness and Wellbeing

Emile Durkheim and Sigmund Freud’s sociological theories also help shed light on health issues. On one hand, sociological perspectives on health attempt to make sense of illness by tackling the projected causes of such illness. On the other hand, they help proffer a better understanding of the social processes of health and mental wellbeing (Callahan 2014, 34)
In Karl Marx’s sociological perspectives, materialism emerges as a key concept. Marx discusses the issue of the material culture of modern capitalism at length as part of his major theoretical claims. The social philosopher is a renowned critic of the modern division of labor and the emergent socio-economic disparities of capitalism industrialization as witnessed in the free market enterprise economy. In his discourses on the same, Marx observes a vast disparity in the balance of power between the elite class of economic bourgeoises on one hand and the proletariats comprising mainly the low-income earners and poor folks (Jacobsen 2008, 67). In his World Systems Theory, Immanuel Wallenstein expounded Marx’s socialist ideology by explaining the sharp imbalance of power between consumer groups. Wallenstein reinforces Marx’s claim that the emerging material world is characterized by division of labor with a segment of a minority elite consumer group with immense purchasing power and a majority of low-income earners with dismal purchasing power. The minority elite owns capital and controls the market while the majority proletariat group offers labor and raw materials at a controlled price.
Marx’s social philosophy centers on three key ideas: material conditions, alienation, and dialectical materialism. As currently observed, cultural materialism is at the core of modern capitalism. Materialism has become an integral part of modern consumerism. Social psychologists concur that cultural materialism has become synonymous with modern consumerism.