Subject details

At the completion of this subject 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.
  • Topics
    • Defining illness and disease, the normal and the abnormal
    • Placebos and cultural meaning
    • Ethics and drug trials
    • Illness narratives
    • Biomedicine and shamanism
    • The culture of biomedicine
    • Health and indigenous Australia
    • Cross-cultural perspectives on madness
    • Imaging technologies and reproductive health
    • Gender and the body: anorexia and menstruation
    • Pathologies of power and the organ trade
    • Pharmaceuticals and ADHD
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
      • Online Quizzes/Tests
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
    • Online Materials
      • Resources and Links

Entry Requirements

Equivalent Subjects

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

  • MAQ-ANT202

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject was previously known as ANTX202 Culture and Healing.

The subject 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.

  • Assignment 1 - Essay (40%)
  • Assignment 2 - Non-Invigilated Exam (40%)
  • Assignment 3 - Review (10%)
  • Assignment 4 - Tutorial topics (10%)

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 subject

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