The Sociology of Health Inequalities - OUP

The divisions which create health inequalities affect many aspects of everyday life.

The Sociology of Health Inequalities ..

Dew and Matheson (2008) state that the disciplines of epidemiology and social epidemiology have progressively given more descriptions of health inequalities....

Recent comparisons have shown that Britain is in the middle of comparable Western countries in relation to inequalities of health.

Improving Uk Public Health Health And Social Care Essay

Yet survey questions used in the existing literature often fail to capture exploitation and its three principles (). Instead, most studies are measuring employment relations (for example, employer, self-employed owner, worker), which makes them practically analogous to Neo-Weberian indicators of social class (Marshall et al, 1988). A heuristic solution to this impasse might be to measure the process of exploitation, and its associated domination, with its own set of indicators. For example, in a recent study among nursing assistants and their mental health within the context of US nursing homes, exploitation was measured at the organizational level with for-profit status and domination was measured with rating scales answered by key informants in each workplace (). Results showed strong multilevel effects of indicators of exploitation and domination on worker mental health. A specific focus on the social mechanisms of exploitation and domination () that underlie inequalities in welfare between persons in different class positions could hold promise for future Neo-Marxist class analyses. This would actually represent a significant move towards a more ‘classical’ Marxist understanding of class () without abandoning the distinctive empirical bent of Wright’s ‘Analytical Marxism’.

The focus will be on one of the key determinants of health inequality, social class, specifically in the UK.

Previous research on the relational effects of social class on health inequalities confirms the explanatory and analytical value of conceptualizing mechanisms of exploitation and domination as health determinants. Our critical reconstruction of two decades of Neo-Marxist scholarship provides an overview of the state-of-evidence and offers several promising directions for future research. First, there is a clear need to advance the conceptualization and measurement of social class in health inequalities scholarship. As revealed in , existing studies have primarily relied on Wright’s typology of class in capitalist societies to understand health inequalities between capitalists, managers, petty bourgeois, and workers. Wright’s contributions to our current understanding of social class are indisputable. However, new contributions are needed. Public health scholars run the real risk falling into an intellectual trap if we fail to consider, integrate, and synthesize other concepts into our explanatory frameworks and research methods. For example, most studies make predictions about the health of individuals based on the assumption that capitalists and workers occupy a single class position at one time. Yet, prior work finds that individuals are often simultaneously engaged in multiple class positions that have the effect of generating different amounts of economic resources and creating different kinds of exploitation relations (for example, an individual can be self-employed and a recipient of welfare assistance while occupying a working poor or underclass position) (). Other important needs in terms of advancing the conceptualization and measurement of social class include: identifying new social classes that might have emerged because of changes in capital accumulation and employment relations (for example, financial investors, hedge fund managers, technical middle class workers or precarious workers []); investigating untested relational and dimensional aspects of social class (for example, health inequalities between different owners such as capitalists (hires 100 or more employees) versus small employees (hires 2–99) employees versus petit bourgeoisie (hires no more than 1 employee) (); integrating other major social class (non-stratification) approaches in public health (for example, synthesizing Weberian and Bourdieusian ideas about social class with Neo-Marxism (; ); and striking a balance between the theory-method nexus (for example, conceptualizing exploitation at organizational levels with the use of multi-level modelling, ).

ASH’s response to the Health Select Committee inquiry into the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review on health and social care.


Health inequalities - Office for National Statistics

The term ‘Neo-Marxism’ has been applied during the last century to a number of social science currents that expanded the work of Karl Marx with input from other intellectual developments. In particular in the 1980s emerged a distinctive school of Neo-Marxists, Analytical Marxism () that not only integrated other social science theoretical traditions (for example, Weberian sociology, Neo-classical economics, game theory, development economics and political philosophy) but also embraced empirical class analysis (; ). Analytical Marxism has proved more influential than originally anticipated (). For example, a social scientist influenced by Analytical Marxism has become influential in worldwide academic and policy circles dealing with income inequality (). An economist associated with this current has become Greece’s Finance Minister and is now in charge of the negotiations with the European Union on his country’s debt. The health field, in particular the sociology of health and illness () and social epidemiology () have also been a fertile ground for this kind of Neo-Marxist influence. Specifically, the theoretical and empirical research by , ) on Neo-Marxist class analysis has translated in new explanations and findings on the relation between class and health (), a central question for the sociology of health ().

Health Inequalities - Best Essay Writers

The term ‘social class’ is widely used in health inequalities research. Nonetheless, it remains a contested concept. Broadly speaking, three major uses of ‘social class’ coexist in the health field: pragmatic, Neo-Weberian and Neo-Marxist (). The pragmatic approach has typically focused on simple stratification indicators such as income, educational attainment, and occupational hierarchies that may, de facto, draw on a functionalist tradition in sociology, and even a Weberian concept of status (). The Neo-Weberian approach typically focuses on processes of opportunity hoarding or social closure in market relations, through measures of educational credentials and occupational prestige. The Neo-Marxist approach, elaborated below, can be summarized by a focus on relations of economic production, through processes of ownership and labour, domination and exploitation. Other theories of class have also gained interest in population health research; for example, Bourdieu’s framework, in which groupings of individuals in a multidimensional social space, with various forms of capital – social, economic, cultural, and symbolic – share circumstances and interests and can manifest classes (; ).

The title of the essay is health inequalities

What I do not have is a randomised controlled trial that shows that a reduction in child poverty now will reduce health inequalities when today’s children are older adults, sixty plus years from now. Such is not the nature of the evidence on health inequalities.