Sociology of Health

Course Code: SOCI 2015

Academic Year: 2021-2022

This course examines the body, health and illness as culturally and socially mediated experiences rather than as solely biological phenomena. Students are asked to interrogate mainstream views on health and health care, as well as understand the perspectives that challenge these views. Medical practice traditionally sees the patient as a physical body, yet the social reality of the lived body is always present. The individual, and his/her family and friends, as well as nurses and other medical practitioners, play a key role in negotiating the contested territory between these two realities. Also, there are many different bodies-the body of the child, the pregnant woman, the athlete, the surgical body, the body in pain-and all are culturally framed. In this course students will first examine their own experiences of being ill and being treated medically. Then, using the major sociological perspectives, students will examine how culture, socialization, age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and ability/disability shape their understanding of wellness, illness, pain, and the bodies of others and themselves. Using the analytical tools provided by the course, students will examine the ways in which society responds to illness through the institutions and professions involved in the delivery of health care and explore the ways in which the body and health are continuously contested and debated. Category and Level: Society, Culture and Commerce, Lower Level Restrictions: None