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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2010
Coordinator(s)Dr Vaughan Higgins


This unit introduces students to sociological understandings of health and illness. The first section looks at the social production and patterning of health and illness, and provides a critique of the contemporary focus on health promotion. The middle section engages with recent sociological analyses of issues related to gender, the body, the illness experience and mental illness. The third section provides an understanding of the social organization of health care with a focus on the role of scientific medicine. The ways in which both occupational groupings and patients have sought to challenge medical dominance are also examined.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of the 'social' in the construction, production and experience of illness;
  • Understand the different ways in which sociologists research and theorise about health and illness;
  • Critically assess the social organisation of health-care;
  • Contribute to public debates on health promotion, lifestyle and risk;
  • Apply their sociological knowledge to their own lives in a reflexive way.


Assignment 1 (1000 words) : 25%
Assignment 2 (1500 words) : 35%
Examination (2 hours) : 40%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hr seminar per week)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



SCY1801 or SCY1802 or equivalents


GSC2206, GSC3216, SCY3806