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Contemporary Crises in Global Health and Social Medicine (Module)

Module description

Over the past decade, the concept of “crisis” has become ever more important in the context of social medicine and global health. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the growing fears about the spread of deadly diseases, the dramatic consequences of climate change, and the vulnerability of notoriously underfunded and increasingly privatized health-care systems have produced the sense of a fragile world on the edge of collapse. Important actors in social medicine and global health have frequently pointed out that our health is in crisis. These emergencies, they suggest, require immediate intervention.


Today, we are facing an abundance of crises. In this course, we take a step back and explore what it means to perceive particular situations in terms of “crisis.” We focus on emergency interventions and examine how sustainable these interventions are. We investigate to what extent these interventions have changed the very meaning of “health.” A particular focus in our discussions will be on the category of crisis itself. How is the category operating today in particular contexts? How is it mobilized and what are its effects? To what extent might the category of crisis enable or disable distinctive forms of intervention? What accounts for the productivity of crisis in contemporary debates about the health and well-being of populations, both in the global North and the global South? What are the analytical and political limits of “crisis” as a category of thought and action in contemporary social medicine and global health? 

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


Staff information

Dr Ann Kelly

Teaching pattern

Semester One

Module assessment - more information

Not applicable

Key information

Module code 6SSHM001

Credit level 6

Assessment coursework

Credit value 15 credits

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module No