This article, about Social Theory and Health’ appeared in a Palgrave McMillan Journal dated May 2006 and was written by renowned anthropologist, Mette Beth Risor. The actual title reads, ‘Illness Behavior and Functional Somatic Symptoms - Rethinking the Concept of Illness Behavior from an Anthropological Perspective.’
Theoretically, the researcher’s assumptions were associated with a statement of the problem that illness behavior was discussed, generally, from a non scientific and illogical theoretical framework. As such, the aim of the study was to redefine illness utilizing concepts and assumptions of psychiatrics, psychologists, sociologists and Medical doctors (Risor, 2006)
The researcher admitted, a limitation of the review was its confinement to ‘illness behavior being scrutinized as a theoretical and analytical concept in health science and medical anthropology’ (Risor, 2006). As such, he was not carrying out an investigation concerning individual patient’s reaction or definition of illness.
Consequently, the methodology consisted of researching studies conducted by creditable psychiatrics, psychologists, sociologists; medical doctors and anthologists. These included ‘(Alonzo, 1979, 1984; Kleinman, 1981, 1986; Kleinman and Becker, 1998; Ware, 1998, 1999; Kirmayer et al., 2004)’( Risor 2006). This could be regarded a document analysis.
In relating her findings this researcher explained the importance of perceiving illness from patients’ point of view collectively and not from medical practitioners’ world view. Further, Illness behavior should not be interpreted as a concept or mechanism for a diagnosis, but rather a cultural performance based on the patient’s social identity.
The sociological implication of this study directs the reader towards becoming aware that previously social behavior, health and illness were not conceptualized within a theoretical framework. Presently, researchers are engaging in investigations to clarify misunderstandings surrounding its application among various disciplines; to address misconceptions in the future.
Risor Mette Bech (2006) ‘Illness Behavior and Functional Somatic Symptoms - Rethinking the
Concept of Illness Behavior from an Anthropological Perspective. Palgrave McMillan