Illness and Healing - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Essay (40%) , Non-Invigilated Exam (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit was previously known as ANTX202 Culture and Healing.

The unit offers an introduction to medical anthropology and cross cultural beliefs relating to illness and healing. Different notions about disease causality are examined, as well as the way in which disease has social as well as biological origins. Healing practices, including Western biomedicine, are treated as being inevitably predicated on cultural systems of understanding. Specific topics include the abnormal, culture bound syndromes, body techniques, witchcraft, shamanism, placebos and the 'meaning effect', discipline, social suffering, illness narratives, the relationship between illness and social experience, clinical encounters and changing concepts of mental health.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. understand medical anthropology and develop an understanding of cross beliefs relating to illness and healing
  2. gain familiarity with ethnographic approaches to illness and healing
  3. appreciate the ways in which class, gender and ethnicity shape medical systems and outcomes
  4. critically examine Western biomedicine
  5. apply and adapt anthropological knowledge to real work issues
  6. gain and/or improve research skills
  7. acquire and express information and arguments in a scholarly manner and with appropriate citation
  8. competently use on-line resources
  9. effectively and efficiently organise and manage goals.
  • Essay (40%)
  • Non-Invigilated Exam (40%)
  • Review (10%)
  • Tutorial topics (10%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • ANT202 — Culture and Healing

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Defining illness and disease, the normal and the abnormal
2Placebos and cultural meaning
3Ethics and drug trials
4Illness narratives
5Biomedicine and shamanism
6The culture of biomedicine
7Health and indigenous Australia
8Cross-cultural perspectives on madness
9Imaging technologies and reproductive health
10Gender and the body: anorexia and menstruation
11Pathologies of power and the organ trade
12Pharmaceuticals and ADHD

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down


    ISBN: 9780374533403


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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