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Sociological Perspectives On Health

1st term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method:
Synchronous Online
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  3:30 - 4:50pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Zoe Hendrickson

Examines three theoretical perspectives that are foundational to sociology, particularly as applied to medical sociology and sociologically informed public health research: 1) Conflict Theory, (aka: critical theory), 2) Social Integration Theory (aka: structure functionalism), 3) Sociology of Meaning (including social construction, medicalization, and symbolic interactions). Uses these perspectives to analyze various aspects of health and illness, the healthcare system, and health policy issues. Analyzes these aims: (1) its assumptions about the social world; (2) how it helps us think differently about social structure and human agency; and (3) the intellectual questions it raises. Examines how each perspective has been or could be applied in the study of health and illness and healthcare systems.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze several theoretical perspectives drawn from the social sciences and how they have been applied to issues of public health
  2. Apply each perspective to a public health issue
  3. Demonstrate that the perspective one begins with influences the scientific questions analyzed
  4. Analyze the research, programmatic, and policy implications shaped by each perspective
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 15% Participation
  • 10% Group Presentation
  • 25% Paper(s)
  • 25% Paper(s)
  • 25% Paper(s)

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

This is the virtual/online section of a course also offered onsite. You are responsible for the modality in which you register.