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. A special focus in the Fall Semester is on the crucial notion of the normal body. We will investigate why this notion has become so important for the theory and practice of medicine in modernity. In the Spring Semester, the focus will be on recent developments towards the pharmaceuticalization of health, the molecularization of life, the commodification of the body, the privatization of medical care, and the securitization of public health. These developments have fundamentally transformed today’s landscape of therapeutic governance in fundamental ways.
*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.
- 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.
Lectures, seminars and film screenings
Module assessment - more information
2 x Essays
Required module for