Social Theories and AIDS

Page Count: 9
Length: 2190 Words

Since the early 1980s, America has faced a dilemma in public health that is seen in epidemic proportions. That dilemma, under the rubric of the disease known as AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) has, in the views of many, become one of the most visible and potentially serious health hazards in contemporary society. In fact, the subject of AIDS has engendered not only public health policy, but brings to the forefront many aspects of sociological theory about the way individuals are treated by society, and the way societies at large deal with medical crises.

Using the major social theories of the time, in 1959 sociologist C. Wright Mills criticized and amplified some of the major arguments against the trends in modern thought.1 In his work, Mills identified two major traditions that he believed were vital in the development of a modern, workable theory of society. The first was the tendency, particularly from the implications and writings of Karl Marx and Max Weber, to manipulate the evidence of history and society in such a way as to make initial theories "fit" into preconceived notions of society. The second, identified as an even larger block to press in the identification and elaboration of sociological theory, was called the Grand

1 C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination, (New York: Norton, 1959).

Theory. In this, Mills likely meant that the primary goal of the social disciplines should be that of the identification and f

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