Sociology of health and illness



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UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY
SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH AND ILLNESS
2006-2007
Second & Third Year Module
Professor Simon J. Williams

MODULE OVERVIEW: AIMS, OBJECTIVES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

The aims of the module are to provide students with a thorough grounding in the sociology of health and illness, including key debates on the biomedical model and the social construction of medical power/knowledge; the relationship between social structure and health (principally by class, gender and ethnicity); lay concepts, images and experiences of health and illness; the nature and status of professional power and dominance; and the challenges and uncertainties, dilemmas and contradiction of medicine and health care in the twenty-first century. Throughout the module, the relationship between theory and evidence is stressed, alongside newly emerging issues surrounding the body and risk in late/postmodernity. In these and other ways, a balanced assessment is provided of the sociology of health and illness, and the place and function of sociological critiques in the `academic encirclement’ of medicine.


Learning objectives for the Sociology of Health and Illness Module:
By the end of the module students should:


  1. Have an advanced knowledge and understanding of key concepts and theoretical approaches within the sociology of health and illness as a developing field of inquiry, with specific reference to:




  1. The nature and status of medical power/knowledge and professional dominance in contemporary western societies




  1. Social diversity and inequalities in health within contemporary western societies




  1. Concepts and experiences of health and illness, and the social nature of relations between medical and lay worlds.




  1. Processes of social transformation and change in health, medicine and society.


  1. With reference to these substantive areas of study, be able to:




  1. Assess a range of perspectives




  1. Evaluate sociological arguments and evidence




  1. Draw upon, summarise and synthesise a variety of source materials in constructing their own sociological arguments;




  1. Identify and select sociological work relevant to given social, public or policy debates




  1. Recognise sociologically informed questions and the distinctive character of sociology in relation to other forms of understanding and everyday explanations




  1. Undertake and present scholarly work




  1. Participate in group discussion and work




  1. Make appropriate use of library and IT resources

Learning and teaching methods (which enable students to achieve these learning outcomes):




  1. A course of 20 lectures is delivered




  1. Weekly seminars are conducted (Term 1, week 2 to Term 2, week 10) in which small group work is incorporated and for which students are expected to prepare




  1. Two non-examined class essays




  1. A non-examined, small group, internet based project on the medicine, (bio)technology and the body (the equivalent of a third class essay)




  1. Inclusion of learning materials and key website addresses/hypertext links, on the module website




  1. A revision course in Term 3, weeks 1-4

Assessment methods (which will measure the achievement of these learning outcomes):




  1. EITHER a Two OR Three hour examination in which students must show ability to:




  1. Assess perspectives




  1. Evaluate sociological arguments and evidence




  1. Draw upon, summarise and synthesise a variety of source material in constructing their own sociological arguments




  1. Recognise sociologically informed questions and the distinctive character of sociology in relation to other forms of understanding and everyday explanations




  1. Describe and analyse at least ONE of the following:



  1. The nature and status of medical power/knowledge and professional dominance in contemporary western societies




  1. Social diversity and inequalities in health within contemporary western societies




  1. Concepts and experiences of health and illness, and the social nature of relations between medical and lay worlds.




  1. Processes of social transformation and change in health, medicine and society.




  1. Sociological work relevant to given social, public or policy debates



  1. AND/OR One OR Two, 3,000 assessed essays in which students must show ability to:




  1. Assess perspectives




  1. Evaluate sociological arguments and evidence




  1. Draw upon, summarise and synthesise a variety of source material in constructing their own sociological arguments




  1. Recognise sociologically informed questions and the distinctive character of sociology in relation to other forms of understanding and everyday explanations




  1. Undertake and present scholarly work

f) Describe and analyse at least ONE of the following:




  1. The nature and status of medical power/knowledge and professional dominance in contemporary western societies




  1. Social diversity and inequalities in health within contemporary western societies




  1. Concepts and experiences of health and illness, and the social nature of relations between medical and lay worlds.




  1. Processes of social transformation and change in health, medicine and society.




  1. Sociological work relevant to given social, public or policy debates




  1. Students’ performance in the following (transferable) skills is assessed (via standardised criteria) as part of the Departments review of student progress:




  1. Time management




  1. Participation in discussion




  1. Group work




  1. Use of library and IT resources
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