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From the two articles from Scully and King, I think this quote reflects their main argument, that through the studies of social sciences that disease varies between class, gender, ethnic groups and family support. I chose this quotation as it clearly states how diseases are classified today, and therefore is important because it reflects the change in disease over time. That studies in pathology introduce new factions away from the disease, coupled with a moral public opinion. This was established through experience, disability and disruptions, which occurred through ageing, trauma or illness, some people don’t see it as a disease but a personal identification or compare themselves to a linguistic minority such as the deaf community. The moral choices in healthcare and research are reflected how we brand a health issue as a disease or as an ‘unfortunate condition’. Biomedical science’s point of view are not concerned with disease experience, it’s goal is the understanding of the disease process, but cultural framework directs science into the area which requires its attention. Biomedicine cannot proceed with studies in the proximity of disease without consulting the difficult area of uncertainty and ethical problems. Disease is different for each individual, individual body parts to individual people. For example, individual livers and gall bladders, some of them with problems such as gallstones can affect some people, or some people have limited thyroids which inhibit metabolism, no two people are the same. Some disease applies to the many or the minority, it is normally the greater (with more public demand) which is addressed by scientific intervention. King uses a native American tribe as an example, he tells us that few native Americans that had a full set of thirty-two teeth, these teeth weren’t well aligned, there was no need for medical intervention, therefore retracting it from the ideals of disease. The same can be said for desire in dietary requirements, height and sizes, they all vary from country to country, generation to generation. Disease can be associated with pain but teething and childbearing are considered normal. Both internal and external environments contribute to the ideals of norms, they are counterparts to health, even though the public is sometimes unconscious of them, while the environment states intimately connect with disease are similar parts. This quote highlights the impact society has on the topic of diseases, a reflection of cultural norms, which would not be recognised as a disease and the abnormal effects of disease on culture, which would receive time and investment.        

“Studies in medical anthropology and sociology have shown that whether people believe themselves to be ill varies with class, gender, ethnic group and less obvious factors such as proximity to support family members.”

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The article describes that disease poses a much broader aspect then just a common cold, furthermore, the topic of diseases can be influenced by various cultural context. The term disease has changed through time, she uses examples such as Osteoporosis to describe the shift from the ageing norm to disease, and Homosexuality as a disease which was treated with electroshock and neurosurgery until 1974 when it was removed from the list of diseases. Scully argues its important to distinguish between disease and disability, as medicine has the ability to introduce interventions it also introduces new ethical response, which creates new fractions in a society which people identify themselves through genetic disorders (e.g. Deaf Community).  


Jackie Leach Scully, ‘What is Disease?’

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