Health, Medicine and Society - SOCI8130

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The module is organised around the general theme of a discussion of current debates in the sociology of health, illness and medicine drawing on both theoretical and empirical research. More specific themes will include: the social construction of health and the changing boundaries between health and illness; medicalisation and the discovering of new mental and physical illnesses ; narratives of illness and identity in the context of chronic illness and disability assessing the value of concepts such as 'biographical disruption': the changing structure, nature and regulation of medicine and the explanatory power of the new sociology of professionalism.; the political sociology of medicine which explores the relationship between the state and organised interests such as the pharmaceutical industry; changing approaches of the public /patients to maintaining health and managing illness in the context of a culture of consumption where health and lifestyle might be seen as commodities and maintaining a healthy body keeps control over an uncertain and changing world ; trust, risk and mental health ; consideration of the growth in the use of non-orthodox health care and the development of medical pluralism and a discussion of the relationship between structure and agency in the context of social inequalities in health.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 178
Total study hours: 200


Optional module for the programmes below including where appropriate the year versions
International Social Policy MA
Sociology MA
Methods of Social Research MA
Criminology MA
Also available as an optional module subject to timetabling and programme constraints on other programmes within the School and outside the School

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework - essay (5,000 words) - 100%

Reassessment methods

100% coursework

Indicative reading

Annandale, E (2014) The Sociology of Health and Medicine 2nd edition, Polity, Cambridge
Blaxter M (2007) Health: Key Concepts, Polity, Cambridge
Gabe J and Calnan M (2009) The New Sociology of the Health Service Routledge, London
Gabe J and Monaghan L (2013) Key concepts in Medical Sociology, Sage, Los Angeles
Nettleton S (2013)The Sociology of Health and Illness, Polity, Cambridge
White K (2009) An Introduction to the Sociology of the Health and Illness,2nd edition, Sage Los Angeles

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Critically and systematically examine advanced theories, concepts and research in the field of the sociology of health and illness
8.2 Demonstrate a critical and systematic understanding of theoretical and practical debates in health policy and social medicine

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Identify and critically assess a comprehensive range of evidence and arguments
9.2 Formulate problems; creatively and systematically hypothesise possible solutions; supporting arguments with evidence,
9.3 Recognise the influence of theoretical concepts and perspectives on the questions asked, evidence sought and solutions proposed.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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