Blizard Institute

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Rating: 15 credits

Prerequisites: None

Lectures: 1 hour per week semester B

Seminars: 2 hours per week semester B

Assessment: 2000 word essay (80%) and group presentation(20%)

Module Aims and Outline:

This module provides an introduction to the social scientific disciplines of anthropology, sociology, and science and technology studies (STS), and demonstrates how they have been applied to the study of health and medicine. The concept of culture and its role in patterning experiences of sickness and the knowledge practices of medicine and will be introduced. The associations and variances between different medical systems and how they conceptualise the body, sickness, health and health care in a globalised world will be explored. The relationship between health, medicine, governance and citizenship will also be introduced and discussed. The overall aim of the module is to help students accrue a set of theoretical and conceptual tools that can aid in developing a critical understanding of medicine, health, and sickness across different contemporary societies.

Key Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Recall and explain key anthropological, sociological and STS theories and methodological approaches relevant to the study of health, medicine and global health scholarship.
  • Discuss and analyse the philosophical and conceptual issues surrounding notions of disease, sickness, and health.
  • Appreciate how knowledge, practices and experiences of health and medicine are influenced by various cultural, political, economic and technological factors.
  • Explore and appraise the inter-relationship between ‘society’ and ‘governance’ with regard to definitions of health and institutions of health and medicine.
  • Understand and evaluate the claim that contemporary health issues are ‘biosocial’ in nature.
  • Consider how anthropological, sociological and STS scholarship can contribute to medical practice across contemporary societies.
  • Enhance oral and written communication through seminar presentations and essay writing.

Key module texts:

J Biehl and A Petryna (2013) When People Come First: Critical Studies in Global Health. Woodstock: Princeton

P Farmer, A Kleinman, J Kim & M Basilico (Eds) (2013) Reimagining Global Health: an introduction, University of California Press

A Lock and VK Nguyen (2010) An Anthropology of Biomedicine. Chichester, West Sussex; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell,

D Lupton (1994) Medicine as Culture: Illness, Disease and the Body in Western Societies. London: Sage.

Pool R & Geissler W (2005) Medical Anthropology (Understanding Public Health), London: Open University Press

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