Sociological Theory Of Talcott Parsons's Task Role Theory
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THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
TALCOTT PARSONS’ SICK ROLE THEORY.
The sick role theory was a concept that was created by American sociologist, Talcott Parsons in 1951. The sick role is a term that is used in medical sociology regarding sickness and the rights and obligations of those who are affected. Parsons used this as a way of explaining the particular rights and responsibilities of those who are ill.
From the Functionalist perspective, when an individual is sick, they are not a productive member of society. In other words, since they are diagnosed with a medical condition, the individual cannot always fulfil the same duties that a person in good health can. Society then adapts to this situation and allows for a reasonable amount of deviation from behaviour that would be viewed as typical of a well person. Parsons saw the sick role as a form of deviance , or going against societal expectations because a person who is sick has different patterns of behaviours than the norm. He argued that being ‘sick’ means that the sufferer enters a role of ‘sanctioned deviance ’, as people are generally expected to be productive members of society. When a person becomes sick or ill, that individual is not able to perform their usual duties, such as work at a job, go to school or care for family members; this deviance from the usual is positively sanctioned or approved by the community or authority figures.
Parsons stated that in order for deviance to be sanctioned, a medical