module specification

SH5052 - Issues in Health, Illness & Society (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Issues in Health, Illness & Society
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
24 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
90 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to sociological perspectives of health, illness and society – often referred to as medical sociology. A sociological perspective provides a number of challenges to straightforward bio-medical approaches to health and illness. It asks questions about how health and illness conditions are defined, measured and treated in society as well as the implications for society and individuals. It also explores the wider power structures that are implicated in health and illness which forms the basis for applied learning and problem-solving in areas which students will confront as social professionals. Through exploring a range of topics at the interface of health, illness and society, students are encouraged to think critically about them through contemporary case studies.
Module Aims:
• To explore a social science approach to health, illness and society
• To examine contrasting perspectives on health and illness experiences, such as professional and service-user/lay perspectives
• To consider the role of social factors in the distribution of illness
• To develop critical thinking and analysis on contemporary health issues


Models of health and illness

Lay perspectives of health and illness

Medical power, dominance – the doctor-patient relationship

Health control and surveillance

Health Inequalities and long-life approach

Gender and health

Stigma: mental health and illness

Disability: critical perspectives

Living with a chronic illness

Vulnerability, abuse & safeguarding

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The use of case studies, scenarios and narratives will be at the heart of the delivery of this module. This will allow students to revisit more detailed versions of scenarios presented previously in the course, examine the same scenarios in other concurrent modules and revisit these in the final year. The teaching and learning strategy are structured around a workshop/ seminar format. These sessions provide a framework for each topic, and during the session, in-class activities are used to help students explore and apply the theories to specific health issues and to reinforce their understanding of key concepts. The sessions are structured as activity-based workshops where students solve problems in small groups in order to integrate their learning. There is a weekly set reading that students are expected to undertake to prepare for the session as well as different resources for class discussion. Online learning is available through the Weblearn site, including a discussion board where students can upload links to issues and resources related to the course and discuss them. The students are provided with a module handbook that sets out the week-by-week topic, readings and tasks.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Discuss in detail key social science theories and sociological interpretations in relation to contemporary issues in health and illness
2. Analyse the impact of social, cultural and economic contexts on conceptualisations of health and illness and on service provision and practice.
3. Explore the relations between health professionals, patients and those around them, and identify how these social relationships may affect the patient's condition.
4. Evaluates key data relating to diverse outcomes of ill-health and/or social circumstances to identify relationships between outcomes and social status.

Assessment strategy

Students will demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes through the submission of:
An essay (2500 words)