KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Introduction to Social Medicine 1 (Module)

Module description

This course introduces students to the changing nature of modern medicine in Europe and the United States. The key aim of the course is to offer insights into the emergence and evolution of modern medicine and its key actors and institutions as well as discourses and practices. Health and disease are more than medical matters. They are shaped by social, cultural, political, and technological forces. Questions of health and disease are inextricably linked with questions of science, technology, modernity, religion, colonialism, capitalism, racism, globalization, humanitarianism, and the state.

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the social study of medicine. Its focus is on how medicine has transformed experiences and expectations of health and disease over the past decades. The course illuminates how new medical interventions into the biological conditions of bodies and populations were based on new understandings of the normal and the pathological. Special focus will be on concepts such as the normal body, medicalization, social construction, subjectivity, and biopolitics, in order to familiarize students with scholarly and current debates around how biotechnological developments have fundamentally transformed individuals and communities and how they experience life and health. Students will also be introduced to the bioethical implications of these ongoing cultural shifts.

*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.

Aims:

  • To introduce students to the social study of medicine;
  • To provide students with an understanding of the most important actors and institutions as well as discourses and practices that are characteristic of modern medicine;
  • To provide students with an understanding of the social, cultural, political, and technological forces that are shaping modern medicine;
  • To offer students the possibility to explore how questions health and disease are linked with questions of science, technology, modernity, capitalism, and globalization;
  • To demonstrate the value of social scientific approaches to medicine;
  • To provide insights into the empirical, methodological, and epistemological debates in the social study of medicine;
  • To offer a thorough grounding in the multifaceted theories and concepts used in social studies of science, health, and medicine;
  • To critically explore contested key social science perspectives on the interrelated fields of medicine and science; illuminate the complex nature of multidisciplinary research on medicine, science and society; and
  • To critically illustrate core themes through a series of in- depth case studies.  

By the end of this module students are expected to have acquired:

  • An understanding of how modern medicine emerged and evolved;
  • An ability to identify the key forces that are impacting modern medicine;
  • An awareness of how the notion of the normal body operates in medical beliefs and practices; and
  • A sensibility for the changing nature of today’s governance of health and disease.

Staff information

Guntars Ermansons

Teaching pattern

Lectures and seminars

Module assessment - more information

Coursework and written essays

Required module for

Key information

Module code 4SSHM003

Credit level 4

Assessment coursework

Credit value 15

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module Yes