Undergraduate Module Descriptor

ANT2085: Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society Part 1: Medicine and Social Control

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Hannah Farrimond (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


What is illness? Who defines “health”? How do social processes affect disease and health in collectivities and in individuals? How did lack of health become associated with deviation? What are the values that underpin medical practice today?
Building on insights from medical anthropology, medical sociology and health psychology, this module critically explores ideas of health and illness as well as health practices. In the first part of the module we will discuss topics such as experiences of illness, and the construction and understanding of illness by those who are affected by it as well as those who are treating it. We will then explore the logic of biomedicine and processes of medicalization, followed by the effects of the market on the delivery of healthcare. In the second part we will turn our attention to social differences in health, particularly in terms of gender, age and different cultural backgrounds.

There are two Parts to ‘Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society’. These two 15 credit courses can be taken separately (so, either Part 1 or Part 2) or together (both Parts). Their interdisciplinary approach makes it suitable for students in sociology, anthropology, psychology, medicine/health sciences and other social science disciplines.

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