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AIDS in Social Theory

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 (1959) criticized and amplified some of the major arguments against the trends in modern thought. 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 Theory. In this, Mills likely meant that the primary goal of the social disciplines should be that of the identification and further development of a "systematic theory of the nature of man and society" (p. 23).

In this paper, the book And the Band Played On by journalist Randy Shilts, will be used as a backdrop of a comparative study in social theory using the basic ideas of Marx, Durkheim, Weber, de Tocqueville, and Marcuse. After giving a brief overview of the major focus of Shilts' book, the paper will compare and contrast the sociological implications that the ideas presented by Shilts have on portions of alternate social theory. Finally, the paper will conclude with a b...

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AIDS in Social Theory. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:59, August 03, 2020, from