Health Illness and Society

Subject POPH90245 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:

POPH90208 Key concepts in Medical Anthropology

POPH90203 Social Analysis in Health 1

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website.


Assoc Prof Louise A. Keogh, Assoc Prof Richard Chenhall

Contact or

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health


Currently enrolled students:

Future Students:

Subject Overview:

Today the complex public health concerns that confront the world require medical and social science researchers to collaborate. Health, illness and Society, incorporating insights from medical anthropology and health sociology will engage with the social, political, economic and historical factors shaping public health. Social science perspectives help to explain social behaviour, how societies change, the role of social institutions in society and the relationship between individuals and social structures. This subject will address; (1) social science understanding of health and illness, such as alcohol misuse, obesity and poverty; (2) social science theories and their relevance in public health, such as structuralism and postmodernism; (3) social science critiques of public health policies, such as neoliberal health care reforms. Students will develop conceptual tools for understanding everyday life and will gain experience applying these tools to explain and find innovative solutions for public health problems.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course students will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of key social science perspectives applied to public health
  • Understand how conceptions of health and illness and the forms and meaning that illness take are reflections of a particular social and cultural context
  • Apply social theory to the analysis of health care systems in different political and economic contexts
  • Utilise social theory to analyse public health issues
  • Synthesise social science perspectives to inform public health policy and practice.

Four written pieces of 1250 words each due in weeks 3, 6, 9 and 12 (25% each)

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Course(s): Master of Public Health
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Health Social Sciences

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