The Sick-Role Concept

  • Arnold Arluke


Over three decades ago, Parsons elaborated a model of how societies operate and continue to exist. His structural—functional approach is concerned with how different parts of society relate to each other and contribute to a state of equilibrium. Although the approach focuses on the maintenance of social systems, the individual is not entirely excluded from his analysis. Through a process of socialization, individuals learn to share similar normative expectations for behavior in a variety of different social positions or roles. The social system, which is a network of roles, functions smoothly only insofar as persons perform their roles adequately. Deviation from the normal performance of these roles can become a threat to the stability of society. Given the potential negative consequences of role deviance, social control mechanisms arise to minimize its occurrence.


Social Behavior Sick Person Sick People Secondary Gain Milbank Memorial Fund 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold Arluke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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