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A sociological perspective to health and illness enables health problems to be viewed as social issues This essay will describe the sociological imagination Mills 1959 cited in Germov 21 and outline the interrelated historical cultural structural and critical factors of which it is comprised The journal articles Researching Aboriginal health experience from a study of urban young people s health and well being Holmes Stewart Garrow Anderson and Thorpe 2002 and Indigenous women s perceptions of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in Queensland McMichael Kirk Manderson Hoban and Potts 2000 are both discussed as excellent examples of what a sociological perspective has to offer with respect to Indigenous health issues The sociological imagination asserts that people do not exist in isolation but within a larger social network The social mind examines the relationships and patterns of behaviour that shape our society Willis 1993 and the distribution of health within it This facilitates a connection to be made between private troubles and public issues Mills 1959 cited in Germov 21 and further enables health problems to be viewed as social issues Germov 2002 Evan Willis 1999 as cited in Germov 22 suggests that understanding the interrelated cultural historical structural and critical factors is the key to the sociological pursuit A historical and cultural awareness involves examining how the past and culture have impacted upon a current health situation Considering the structural factors entails understanding how the organisation and institutions of society and health influence peoples lives Finally the social mind will apply a critical awareness to determine what can be done to improve the current situation Germov 2002 The Holmes et al 2002 quantitative study aims to examine the high prevalence of health problems for Indigenous youth and the responsible social determinants The study is a pertinent example of the application of the sociological imagination Research revealed that the impact of colonisation removal of children and exploitation of the Indigenous population for medical research are
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