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Sociology –Case Study

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Sociology is the study on the individual’s experiences of life and the environment surrounding him. The affect of the society, organization, and groups on the individual is examined in Sociology (Denike, 2007). The case study of Gatimu has been discussed in the particular study that has been a motivated worker from North Sudan and came to Australia but facing different problems and trying to cope with them. The case has some relevant sociological issues that will be discussed and debated. The idea behind analyzing this is to highlight the sociological concepts and understanding the perspectives in light to the case study. The consideration of health and illness has been made while discussing the sociological concepts.


Parsons (1951) propounded the concept of Functionalism in which the research was made on the social and strategic system was relevant for the society at large. The concept of functionalism believes that there are some basic needs of the human being that should be met. In case of the functionalist approach to health the analyses is made between the society at large and the person who is sick. The society role is to keep the sick person under check and therefore the onus is on the society to save itself (Peacocke, 1992). There are responsibilities on the ill patient to treat himself, get the assistance of the medical professional and try and gain the status in the society. The functionalist view takes into account the errors and the disparities that are prevalent in the society (Myers, 2009).

The case study shows that there has been an issue with Gatimu where he has been called ‘Blackie’ and has been troubled by the co-workers in his place of work. Functionalism also states that the society and individualistic needs are to be catered by the Government. This holds true in the particular case, where Gatimu suffers from lower back pain and met with an accident from machinery for which he received worker compensation. However, the issues like racism, and unequal treatment due to a inclination towards a particular sex, like being a Gay, approach of functionalism ignores the diversity faced by the person even when he is of same community (Goldman, 1993). Meanwhile, fault of Gatimu is that he starts concentrating on the work when he is abused of his limping leg, or his culture. Same has been the carelessness on the lower back pain that he is suffering. It is better to take the advice of the medical professional on the issue. Keep the pain going will aggravate it further and this should be checked.



The second view is given by Marx (1883) and is known as Marxist perspective. This concept identifies the conflicts in between the societies. The idea of this concept is that without struggling between the social classes it is difficult to achieve success. The theory is of the view that the conflict forms the basis of the society on which it is build. As per the concept there are two classes of people, one is the Bourgeoisie class and another one is Proletariat. Bourgeoisie are the powerful group of people having access to finances, while Proletariat are people that are poor and generally workers class. In case of health the Marxist approach believes that it is the problem of the individual rather than of the society.

For example: Gatimu has been a worker and a Proletariat if Marxist theory is taken into perspective. The powerful groups although not on a financial basis but more on basis of the culture keep troubling him. Similar is the case with the family that he fears revealing his sexual orientation. He feels that revealing the same will bring him in trouble as the family values will get hurt that are strictly against the Homosexuality (Nussbaum, 2009). It should be understood that Gatimu should discuss about the problem with the Doctor, who will be able to help him gain confidence and become more linked to the work.



Interactionist approach on health puts the onus on the individual to analyze how healthy or ill he is. A Interactionist approach considers the complexities that are witnessed between individuals and their families and work groups. The individual view of health is build on the basis of the environment he lives in (Robinson, C & Spivey, 2007). A healthy person has reasons to believe about his health and vice versa. For diagnosing the individual about his health requires that he interacts with the person who is a professional. He can help the ill person understand his image in the society (Preckel & Brull, 2010). The Interactionist approach has been criticized on the manner it deals with health. There is more emphasis on the relationship of the patient with the society rather than taking the causes of health and treating the same. In case of Gatimu, it is critical to understand the relationships between him and his parents. The relationships with the society are also a matter of concern here as he has been getting the bashing and remarks on a constant basis.

There are generally two kinds of approaches that are used in for the treatment of illness and health disorders. These approaches are known as Bio-Medical and Socio Medical approaches.



This model focuses on the abnormalities and the problems in the body. This includes the factors that are biological in nature. The person is tested for getting the medical answers to the problems he faces and based on that the treatment is prescribed. The scientifically proven methods are used for the purpose of addressing the illness.


This model takes into account environmental factors that have the capability to impact the health of the person. Factor in relation to the individual relationships, diet, and inequalities are taken into account. The people like Gatimu that face this situation are likely to face short life expectancy and ill health over a prolonged period of time.


A different approach to the case study has been formalized. This approach tries and tackles the problem of Gatimu in a four step manner. The patient in the particular case has been brutalized and man handled therefore adopting any particular approach would not bring solution. Firstly, it is important to understand the cause of the problem. This includes investigation of who has done wrong, why have he done the same, and the extent of damage (Giddens, 2005). The next logical step is to investigate the factors like risks and protective factors for the individual.

Risk factors will help in identifying the potential threat on the individual and the reasons of the occurrence of the threat, while protective measures will ensure that the health and well being of the person is safeguarded. Preventive programme designing is the next logical step of the process (Griswold, 2004). This involves analysis of the data and the measures that safeguards the person. These programmes are then evaluated on a regular basis to avoid threats. Adopting and putting this approach into practise is then done, to ensure that the same problems are mitigated in the society. In case of Gatimu, it is necessary that the hate mongers should be indentified and brought under the law. This will ensure that the society will be learning a lesson from the mistakes of the abusers. In the meantime, treating the illness is the next thing that should be done. His family should be made to understand about the sexual orientation. It is important for the health care worker to understand the ways in which the treatment should be streamlined, because each step is important for the benefit of the person and the society at large.



The approach adopted for the study takes into account the factor likes illness and society loopholes all together. This is a sound approach as blaming the patient for his sexual orientation or the treatment he is facing is not the solution. People like Gatimu, who are self motivated for work, should be aided with right medical advices and treatments. Meanwhile, society drawbacks should not be taken for granted as this problem can occur with anybody anytime.


  1. Denike, M 2007, Religion, Rights and Relationships: The Dream of Relational Equality,Hypatia, volume 22 (1): 71-91.
  1. Giddens, A 2005, Sociology, Cambridge: Polity Press, 4th
  1. Goldman, A 1993,Readings in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Cambridge: MIT.
  1. Griswold, W 2004, Cultures and Societies in a Changing World, Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
  1. Myers, D G 2009, Social psychology, New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 10th ed.
  1. Nussbaum, M 2009, A right to marry? Same sex marriage and Constitutional Law, Dissent, volume 56 (3): 43-55.
  1. Peacocke, C 1992, A Study of Concepts, Cambridge: MIT.
  1. Preckel, F and Brull, M 2010, The benefits of being a big fish in a big pond: Contra stand assimilation effects on academic self-concept, Learning and Individual Differences, 20(5). 
  1. Robinson, C & Spivey, S 2007, The politics of Masculinity and the Ex-Gay movement, Gender and Society, Volume 21 (5): 650-675.
  1. Swartz, D 1997, Culture & Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
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