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Explain how to apply functionalist, conflict theorist, and symbolic interactionist perspectives to health issues.  

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To apply functionalist, conflict theorist, and symbolic interactionist perspectives to health issues, consider how theorists with each viewpoint would view health issues in light of their overall perspective on society.

For instance, functionalists view society at a macro level, with a focus on the complex system of social structures that work together to keep society running. They acknowledge that these structures produce inequality, but they view that inequality as a necessary byproduct of a stable society. They therefore might look at a contested issue like the lack of free healthcare in the United States and argue that it is necessary to keep the country's economy functioning.

Meanwhile, conflict theorists bring attention to tension and oppression in society. They argue that certain societies only function because they operate on the oppression of minority groups. They would thus look at health issues like the higher rates of COVID-19 among oppressed groups and lack of access to healthcare in the United States as byproducts of systemic discrimination.

Symbolic interactionists focus more on how meaning is created at the micro level. In particular, they are often interested in how different forms of communication between people create meaning. A symbolic interactionist would thus likely focus on what interpersonal interactions reveal about particular health issues. For example, one might examine how white doctors communicate with Black patients and bring attention to microaggressions.

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