Cultural Worlds of Health and Illness

Course code SOCA2325Units 10Level 2000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Humanities and Social Science

This course offers an introduction to medical and critical medical anthropology, and the related cross-cultural and inter-cultural belief systems that relate to health and illness. We will explore different cultural understandings and conceptualisations of health and illness causality, and consider the practices different cultural groups use and apply to take care of their health and illness. Using a wide range of ethnographic case studies, the different lectures will examine cross-cultural and inter-cultural approaches to the social construction of health and illness, the role of symbolism in healing, shamanistic practices, embodiment and emotions, biomedicine and science-based approaches to health and illness, reproduction, gender, health and surrogacy, cultural differences between health and well-being, alternative healing practices, health promotion and regulation, bodily and mental disorders, as well as the working with medical technologies (such as organ transplantation, and more generally, screening the body).

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 1
On-Line from CallaghanSemester 1
Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesThe course will develop students' analytical skills in reference to critically exploring and analysing social practices and cultural understandings and assumptions through:
1. An appreciation of the depth and the breadth of knowledge in the social sciences
2. A capacity to think critically and creatively about societies and culture, as well as their personal participation in and contribution to their society and culture
3. High level oral and written communication skills
4. Responsiveness to the demands of the workplace, the broader community, and engagement in development studies and with applied approaches.

Upon completion of this course students will be able to demonstrate:
1. An understanding of the different theoretical perspectives used to study cultural practices of health and illness
2. Knowledge of the way in which experiences are culturally constituted and socially controlled
3. An ability to critically analyse cultural understandings, representations and social practices
4. Skills in giving oral presentations, writing academic essays, undertaking and contributing to applied and policy research.
ContentTopics may include:
1. Theories of the way in which experiences are symbolically, and socially and culturally constituted
2. Theories of social and cultural approaches to health and illness
3. Ethnographic studies of how relationships are negotiated, understandings mediated and meanings constructed, with a particular emphasis on cultural difference
4. Classic and contemporary ethnographic studies of health and illness
5. The political economy of health and illness.
Replacing Course(s)SOCA3325 Culture, Health and Illness
TransitionStudents who have successfully completed SOCA3325 Culture, Health and Illness are ineligible to enrol into SOCA2325
Industrial Experience0
Assumed Knowledge40 units of study at 1000 level
Modes of DeliveryFlexible Delivery / Student Centred Learning
Internal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Essays / Written AssignmentsEssay 1 worth 40% due mid-semester, 2000 words
Examination: Take HomeTake home exam, worth 40% due end of semester, 2000 words
Presentations - TutorialClass presentations, worth 10%, 1000 words
TutorialGroup work - Tutorial
Critical analysis of and engagement with course material, worth 10%
Contact HoursTutorial: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for SOCA2325