Module 2 Unit 2 のエッセイです。
We live every day, but we would have little attention to public health issues as long as you do not belong to a healthcare industry or department. It means that people do not understand or recognize some serious public health problems with high probability. Because of these misunderstanding and unawareness, it is possible that there are harassment, bury, contempt, or discrimination against people who suffer from public health issues. Some theories that could help these people are medicalization and stigma. Both theories have a phase that a few people realize what is going on and try to spread a right understanding. The phase is linked to my work that I engage at an IT company.
Before describing the relationship between the theories of medicalization and stigma and my IT work, I would like to refer the definitions of each theory. According to Gabe et al. (2014), medicalization “describes a process by which non-medical problems become defined and treated as medical problems, usually in terms of illnesses or disorders.” In addition, the process of medicalizing human behavior or condition has five sequential stages: (1) a behavior being defined as deviant, (2) the medical conception of a deviant behavior that is mentioned in a medical journal, (3) claims-making by medical and non-medical interest groups, (4) the legitimation of a claim, (5) the medical deviance designations that are institutionalized. On the other hand, stigma is a kind of relationship between attribute and stereotype, and the attribute is affected by negative images (Gabe and Elston, 2004). Stigma also divides two types: felt and enacted. The felt stigma comes from the fear due to the cultural unacceptability or inferiority. The enacted stigma is an actual case to discriminate. From the two theories, the second stage of the medicalization process and the two types of stigma could be linked to my job, which is using data from search engine.
The reason the search engine is related to the parts of the theories is that results from the search engine can find some needs that people cannot say or disclose to others. There are two examples with Google Trends (https://www.google.com/trends/). About the query “zika” that is now infected in South Africa, Google Trends shows as following:
We can find when it attracted public attention. It means that we can notice a small movement that we should assist with the technology. Another example is about “gay disease”, which we can know which areas we should be held a public listening with this tool (Figure 2).
What I did not consider before Unit 2 is that there are some steps and types that public health issues would be formed and that the steps and types could help us to notice what we should do. Moreover, although we should gather data with questionnaires until now, it is possible to catch the needs of the issues fast and accurately through information technology. Of course, there is a discussion. Analyzing web data remains privacy problem. People who suffer from health issues might not want to be known that they need some help. Even if we take it into account, the theories of medicalization and stigma through the search engine could let us see invisible things and make us easy and fast to take actions before developing uncontrollable situations.
The reference lists
- Gabe, J., Bury, M. & Elston, M.A. (2004) Key concepts in medical sociology. London: Sage. ‘Medicalization’ (pp.59-63)
- Gabe, J., Bury, M. & Elston, M.A. (2004) Key concepts in medical sociology. London: Sage. ‘Stigma’ (pp.68-72)
- Google. Google Trends. Available from https://www.google.com/trends/ (Accessed on February 3, 2016)