Cultural Worlds of Health and Illness
Not available in 2012
Previously offered in 2013
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).
The 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.
Topics 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.
SOCA3325 Culture, Health and Illness
Students who have successfully completed SOCA3325 Culture, Health and Illness are ineligible to enrol into SOCA2325
40 units of study at 1000 level
Modes of Delivery
Lecture: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Tutorial: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term