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Posted on April 12th, 2014, by

There are different reasons for why people fall ill. Epidemic diseases, in particular, are often associated with social conditions. As Paul E. Farmer et al. try to theorize this problem it is rather interesting to get acquainted with their approach. They utilize the term “structural violence”¯ and define it as the “avoidable impairment of fundamental human needs or”¦the impairment of human life, which lowers the actual degree to which someone is able to meet their needs below that which would otherwise be possible”¯ (as cited in Conrad and Leiter 202). Their conclusions seem to be especially attractive because of the subject of their research. They focus on HIV and AIDS, “the plaque of the twentieth century”¯, which in the twenty-first century is not overcome yet. “Throughout the usually decade-long process of HIV progression, detrimental social structures and constructs ”“ structural violence ”“ have a profound influence on effective diagnosis, staging, and treatment of the disease and its associated pathologies,”¯ Paul E. Farmer et al. note (as cited in Conrad and Leiter 205).

The sixth chapter in the Sociology of Health and Illness is the research conducted by Paul E. Farmer, Bruce Nizeye, Sara Stulac, and Salmaan Keshavjee and entitled “Structural Violence and Clinical Medicine.”¯ First of all, the authors explain why biosocial indications of medical phenomena are extremely needed at the moment. They base their research on the category of “structural violence”¯. Having explained the term, they reflect its application in health care. What is more, they also pay attention to the limitations of this concept and then apply it to AIDS. They scrutinize the factors affecting the course of disease, address disparities in the way HIV is treated in different locations, and come up with recommendations for “resocializing”¯ the therapeutics.

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