Key Concepts in Medical Anthropology

Subject POPH90208 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2010.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One two hour seminar per week; 24 hrs
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: -
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: -
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Recommended Background Knowledge: Knowledge gained from concurrently undertaking Social analysis in population health 1&2.
Non Allowed Subjects: 505-402/502 Culture, health and illness
505-403/503 Key perspectives in medical anthropology

Core Participation Requirements: -


Centre for Health and Society


Academic Programs Office
Melbourne School of Population Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 9339
Fax: +61 3 8344 0824

Subject Overview: This subject aims to provide students with an overview of the principal concepts and theories in medical anthropology. It will provide critical insights on the interface of health, society, and culture and the nature of medical systems in indigenous, developing, and developed societies. This subject examines a range of classic and current theoretical debates within the discipline of anthropology: on rationality and cultural difference; objectivity and reflexivity; modes of anthropological representation and the politics of applied anthropological research.

Objectives: On completion of this course students will:
  • understand the key concepts and theories used in medical anthropology
  • have a critical understanding of recent developments in theories of medical anthropology
  • understand how conceptions of health and illness and the forms and meaning that illness take are reflections of a particular social and cultural context
  • have developed the capacity to formulate comparative explanations of illness causation, drawing on a variety of explanatory models of cultural, social and behavioural determinants of health.
  • be able to contextualise socio-cultural studies and present them in terms of policy and practice within the field of medical anthropology

  • One in-class presentation of 20 minutes (equivalent of 1000 words) (20%)
  • Critical analysis of 1000 words (20%), due mid-semester
  • One 3,000 research essay (60%) due at the end of the semester.
Prescribed Texts: Students will have access to electronic copies of relevant readings.
Recommended Texts: -
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Upon completion of this subject a student should have:
  • Advanced written and oral communication skills
  • Advanced skills in reading critically within and across the discipline of medical anthropology
  • Advanced skills in critical analysis of relevant theories in medical anthropology.

Related Course(s): Master of Health Social Sciences
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Social Sciences
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Social Health
Women's Health

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