Why this might be is open to debate and many of the key sociological theories in relation to mental health have in fact as much to say about the prevailing viewpoints within society and within professional bodies towards mental health as they do about those who suffer from mental health related problems Cockerham, The two most radical of the sociological theories concerning mental health have been social reaction or labelling theories as well as that of social constructivism. Both these theories examined within this essay offer a radical conception of mental health in comparison to what might be called the dominant medical and social views on mental health. However while both of these theories offer a radical view of mental health they differ substantially in the theoretical framework which they respectively utilize towards understanding mental health.
He found that crime is not so much a violation of a penal code as it is an act that outrages society. He was the first to suggest that deviant labeling satisfies that function and satisfies society's need to control the behavior. As a contributor to American Pragmatism and later a member of the Chicago SchoolGeorge Herbert Mead posited that the self is socially constructed and reconstructed through the interactions which each person has with the community.
The labeling theory suggests that people obtain labels from how others view their tendencies or behaviors. Each individual is aware of how they are judged by others because he or she has attempted many different roles and functions in social interactions and has been able to gauge the reactions of those present.
This theoretically builds a subjective conception of the self, but as others intrude into the reality of that individual's life, this represents objective data which may require a re-evaluation of that conception depending on the authoritativeness of the others' judgment.
Family and friends may judge differently from random strangers. More socially representative individuals such as police officers or judges may be able to make more globally respected judgments. If deviance is a failure to conform to the rules observed by most of the group, the reaction of the group is to label the person as having offended against their social or moral norms of behavior.
This is the power of the group: The more differential the treatment, the more the individual's self-image is affected. Labeling theory concerns itself mostly not with the normal roles that define our lives, but with those very special roles that society provides for deviant behaviorcalled deviant roles, stigmatic roles, or social stigma.
A social role is a set of expectations we have about a behavior. Social roles are necessary for the organization and functioning of any society or group. We expect the postman, for example, to adhere to certain fixed rules about how he does his job.
Deviant behavior can include both criminal and non-criminal activities. Investigators found that deviant roles powerfully affect how we perceive those who are assigned those roles. They also affect how the deviant actor perceives himself and his relationship to society.
The deviant roles and the labels attached to them function as a form of social stigma. Always inherent in the deviant role is the attribution of some form of "pollution" or difference that marks the labeled person as different from others.
Society uses these stigmatic roles to them to control and limit deviant behavior: For example, adultery may be considered a breach of an informal rule or it may be criminalized depending on the status of marriagemorality, and religion within the community. In most Western countries, adultery is not a crime.
Attaching the label "adulterer" may have some unfortunate consequences but they are not generally severe. But in some Islamic countries, zina is a crime and proof of extramarital activity may lead to severe consequences for all concerned. Stigma is usually the result of laws enacted against the behavior.
Laws protecting slavery or outlawing homosexuality, for instance, will over time form deviant roles connected with those behaviors.
Those who are assigned those roles will be seen as less human and reliable. Deviant roles are the sources of negative stereotypeswhich tend to support society's disapproval of the behavior.
George Herbert Mead[ edit ] One of the founders of social interactionismGeorge Herbert Mead focused on the internal processes of how the mind constructs one's self-image. In Mind, Self, and Society he showed how infants come to know persons first and only later come to know things. According to Mead, thought is both a social and pragmatic process, based on the model of two persons discussing how to solve a problem.
Mead's central concept is the self, the part of an individual's personality composed of self-awareness and self-image. While we make fun of those who visibly talk to themselves, they have only failed to do what the rest of us do in keeping the internal conversation to ourselves.
Human behavior, Mead stated, is the result of meanings created by the social interaction of conversation, both real and imaginary.Structural stain/stress theory - the stress process - assumes mental illness is real & identify social causes Social Constructionist approach Labeling/social reaction theory - mental illness = social construction - label of mental illness, who makes labels.
Finally, conflict theorists, combined with labeling theorists, believe that the people in a society with the fewest resources are the most likely to be labeled mentally grupobittia.com instance, women, racial minorities, and the poor all suffer higher rates of mental illness than groups of higher social and economic status.
People who believe in hard labeling believe that mental illness does not exist. It is merely deviance from the norms of society that people attribute to mental illness.
Thus, mental illnesses are socially constructed illnesses and psychotic disorders do not exist. Soft Labeling People who believe in soft labeling believe that mental illnesses do, in fact, exist.
(social causation, social reaction (labelling theory), critical theory, social constructivism & social realism) Mental Health Illness. The issue of mental health has long been an object of study for society, the psychiatric professions and sociology has similarly had a long tradition of offering theoretical insights into the phenomenon.
The belief that labelling is as harmful as the illness itself has sadly lingered on and many working in mental health today, particularly in the third sector organisations such as the mental health charities, still believe that labelling has this effect.
Sociology Essays - Mental health & illness within Sociology - Compare and contrast two of the five approaches to mental health & illness within Sociology.
(social causation, social reaction (labelling theory), critical theory, social constructivism & social realism).