Health, Illness and Society


This course provides a sociological analysis of health and illness in contemporary western industrialised societies. The main focus is on the range of social inequalities which determine health status and access to health care. The role of class, gender, 'race', ethnicity, age, and work will be explored in relation to the broad distribution of health and illness.



  • Semester 1 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. Discuss the social context of health and illness.

2. Recall the key theories, concepts and perspectives used in the sociology of health and illness.

3. Relate health outcomes and class, gender, 'race', ethnicity and work.

4. An ability to critically analyse health issues beyond the biomedical paradigm.

5. Skills in writing academic essays, tutorial presentations and evaluating different arguments and approaches in the study of health and illness.


Topics include:

  • The Social Context of Health and Illness.
  • Capitalism, Industrialism and Health.
  • Health and Social Inequality: Class, 'Race', Gender, Ethnicity, and Work.
  • Indigenous Australians and Health Inequalities.
  • Access to the health care system and health resources.
  • Medical Dominance and the Medicalisation of Social Life

Assumed Knowledge

40 units of study at 1000 level.

Assessment Items

Presentation: Seminar Presentation

Essay: Minor Essay based on seminar presentation

Formal Examination: Examination

Participation: Seminar Participation

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term