Skip to main content

Module

SOC2056 : Sociology of Health and Illness

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Pauline McCormack
  • Lecturer: Professor Simon Woods
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The module deals with understanding health, illness and health care from a social science perspective. The first half of the lecture series provides an overview of the sub-discipline of the sociology of health and illness (SHI), and provides a robust theoretical-conceptual social science framework within which health issues can be analysed as social phenomena. The second half of the lecture series applies this framework of social science thought to particular issues in SHI such as inequalities in health, the body, mental health, and death and dying.

The key aims of this module are:

To examine the social aspects of health and illness from a social science perspective, with reference to the discipline of sociology.
To identify key themes which need to be considered in the social science analysis of health issues
To develop students’ understanding of major social science concepts in general

Outline Of Syllabus

Everyone has some experiences of being well, being ill and accessing health care. In this module, the emphasis is on learning to see health, illness and health care from a different perspective – from the perspective of a social scientist. We begin this process by exploring what a social science understanding of health and medicine looks like, then from that starting point consider the topics of western biomedicine, the professionalization of medicine, doctor-patient relationships and the experience of illness. Exploring these topics helps to set out a social scientific theoretical framework on health and illness. This framework is then used to formulate a social scientific understanding of key issues in health. Case study topics may not be the same each year, but are generally selected from the following list: inequalities, gender and health, ethnicity and health, mental health, disordered eating, death and dying.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials92:0018:00Non-synchronous lecture
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities92:0018:00Non-Synchronous, non-timetabled remote delivery
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Synchronous, timetabled on-line delivery (small group practicals)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops91:009:00Synchronous, timetabled on-line delivery ( Skills based Q&A)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1116:00116:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The workshops will be used to introduce students to the key debates in the Sociology of Health and Illness, and more general social science theories and methodologies that form the bedrock of those debates. The workshops therefore provide the basis of the ‘knowledge’ outcomes. The seminars will be used to consolidate knowledge and develop deeper understandings, using preparatory literature review work, in conjunction with group discussion. The academic skills activities allow students to use a wider range of source to explore sociological ideas and their context. More emphasis will be placed on buddy groups, constituted to encourage students to work in teams in a more in-depth manner than in seminars. The private study hours are extensive on this module to allow students to develop their understanding further, within the structure provided by the course materials and structured reading lists.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502000 words
Report1M50Analytic Report (2000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MEssay Plan - 500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Assessed Essay gives students the opportunity to develop their written and analytic skills alongside their empirical and theoretical knowledge of the subject. Submitted in teaching week 7, this gives students feedback prior to submission of the Analytic Report.
The Analytic Report is submitted toward the end of the module. The Analytic Report provides an opportunity to assess students' capability to apply their general empirical and theoretical knowledge of social science perspectives on health to a specialist case study topic. This piece of assessment tests students' written and analytic skills in a more applied format. It develops and tests their abilities to organise relevant scholarly information within an assessment structure that (a) provides an opportunity for students to take more control over their assignment; (b) allows examination of a particular topic in depth; and (c) provides an opportunity for students to develop and be evaluated on writing up scholarly work in a more applied format.

Reading Lists

Timetable