SOCL19070 - Health and Medical Sociology
Term 1 - 2017

All details in this unit profile for SOCL19070 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student). The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.


Employing the concepts and theories of contemporary social theorists, this unit analyses the medical model of health - both historically and comparatively. Topics covered include the reasons for the expansion of western medicine or medicalisation of society, the body and mind distinction in medical science - its consequences for health, the professionalisation of medicine, and the political economy of medicine.


Career Level Undergraduate
Unit Level Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Student to have completed 36 credit points

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).


Term 1 - 2017
  • Distance


This unit has a website, within the Moodle system, which is available two weeks before the start of term. It is important that you visit your Moodle site throughout the term. Go to Moodle

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Assessment Overview

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 30%
2. Written Assessment 40%
3. Online Quiz(zes) 30%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades.

All University policies are available on the IMPortal.

You may wish to view these policies:

  • Grades and Results Procedure
  • Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework)
  • Review of Grade Procedure
  • Academic Misconduct Procedure
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – Domestic Students
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – International Students
  • Refund and Excess Payments (Credit Balances) Policy and Procedure
  • Student Feedback – Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure
  • Acceptable Use of Information and Communications Technology Facilities and Devices Policy and Procedure

This list is not an exhaustive list of all University policies. The full list of University policies are available on the IMPortal.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback Source Recommendation
Additional sociological readings with the course textbook to help students better understand the sociological perspective. Course Evaluation Additional sociological resources will be provided to help students, especially those who are new to sociology.
The course study guide covering the 12 weeks of the course is a valuable resource. Course Evaluation The study guide will be retained and updated to assist students with their learning and sourcing of additional resources.
Shorter lectures. Course Evaluation The lectures will be revised to reduce the length.
Collaborate session helpful when preparing for the assessments. Email Blackboard Collaborate and online chat sessions will continue to be offered to students.
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. understand and articulate explanations of the medicalisation of society
  2. describe the consequences for health of medical dominance
  3. explain the sociological meanings of body, health and illness

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Online Quiz(zes)

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1. Communication
2. Problem Solving
3. Critical Thinking
4. Information Literacy
5. Team Work      
6. Information Technology Competence
7. Cross Cultural Competence
8. Ethical practice

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Written Assessment    
2 - Written Assessment    
3 - Online Quiz(zes)      

Prescribed Textbooks

Second opinion: An introduction to health sociology
Author/s: Germov, J (ed) Year: 2013
Edition: 5th edn Publisher: Oxford University Press
City: South Melbourne State: Vic
Country: Australia
View textbooks at the CQUniversity Bookshop

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
All submissions for this unit must use the Harvard (author-date) referencing style (details can be obtained here). For further information, see the Assessment Tasks below.
Unit CoordinatorSusan Rockloff (
Note: Check the Term-Specific section for any additional contact information provided by the teaching team
Week Begin Date Module/Topic Chapter Events and Submissions
Week 1 06-03-2017

A sociological perspective AND The models of health, illness & wellness

Germov Ch.1 & 3, & pp. 164-167

Willis (2011) - CRO

Details of all prescribed readings are also on Moodle.

Week 2 13-03-2017

History of medicine AND Economic interests & power in health care

Willis (1989) - CRO

Germov pp. 288-292 & pp. 370-380

Week 3 20-03-2017

Theorising health - social, economic & political

Germov Ch.2 & pp. 171-172

Week 4 27-03-2017

Medical dominance in health care & the challenges

Germov Ch.20 & 22

Week 5 03-04-2017

Professionalisation & the division of labour

Germov Ch.23`

Willis (1994) - CRO

Portfolio (1,500 words) Due Friday (07 Apr 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Vacation Week 10-04-2017
Week 6 17-04-2017

Doctor - patient interaction AND the 'Sick Role' (Parsons' theory)

Freund, McGuire & Podhurst (2003) Ch.10 - CRO

Germov pp. 26-27 & 226-227

Week 7 24-04-2017

Medicalisation in society & of deviance

Germov Ch. 12

Busfield (2017) e-journal

Week 8 01-05-2017 The social meanings of the body & illness

Lupton (1994) - CRO

Week 9 08-05-2017 Goffman's Theory of stigmatisation & labelling of illness & bodies

Germov pp. 256-257, 271-272 & 285-285

Williams (1987) - CRO

Alonzo & Reynolds (1995) e-journal

Week 10 15-05-2017

The post-modern theory of power/knowledge & the body

White (2009) - CRO

Week 11 22-05-2017

Chronic illness & the ageing body in society

Germov Ch.14 & 16

Essay (2,000 words) Due Monday (22 May 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Week 12 29-05-2017

Sociological insights on death & dying

Walter (2012) e-journal

Online Quiz Due Friday (02 Jun 17) 10:00 PM AEST
Review/Exam Week 05-06-2017
Exam Week 12-06-2017

To be eligible to pass this unit all assessment items must be submitted for marking.

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Portfolio (1,500 words)
Task Description
Task: Each student is required to answer three (3) questions, each of 500 words in length. Students are required to use the portfolio template available on Moodle for their answers and references. A list of questions can be found on Moodle in the Assessment block. Each answer needs to: 1) address the question, 2) use relevant sociological concepts, 3) reference sociological literature, 4) show understanding of issues and key concepts, and 5) show evidence of critical thinking.
Aim: The aim of this assessment is for students to demonstrate learning outcomes and facilitate online discussion and interaction amongst other students in order to expand their knowledge and learn from their peers. Students can also receive guidance and input from the unit coordinator on their sociological thinking and academic writing style prior to submission of the assessment. Students are asked not to post drafts of their work to the discussion forum but to bring ideas, examples and questions.
NOTE: Use of sociological references to inform your answers is essential and failure to adhere to this requirement will result in an automatic FAIL grade (zero marks) for the assessment. Students must use the Harvard (author-date) referencing style (see the Harvard (author-date) style guide in the Assessment block).
The total word length for the portfolio is 1,500 words (+/- 10% of the word count). The word count excludes references and direct quotes.
Please take time prior to the due date to discuss your question selection and the key points covered in the answers with your unit coordinator.
Assessment Due Date Week 5 Friday (07-Apr-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Week 6 Friday (21-Apr-2017)
Weighting 30%
Assessment Criteria

The Assessment Criteria are the same for Assessment 1 & 2. Please see the criteria given with Assessment 2 below.

Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

Students must submit their assignment as a Word file to enable marking and comments to be added.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. understand and articulate explanations of the medicalisation of society

2. describe the consequences for health of medical dominance

3. explain the sociological meanings of body, health and illness

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

6. Information Technology Competence

7. Cross Cultural Competence

8. Ethical practice

2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Essay (2,000 words)
Task Description
Task: Choose one (1) of the following topics and then conduct a literature search to identify suitable sources to inform your understanding of the topic and writing of the essay. You are expected to utilise the electronic databases available through the library website to access peer-reviewed sociology journal articles and newspaper articles. Other sources of use include government reports and good (reputable) internet sites.
The word limit is 2,000 words (+/- 10%) (word count excludes the reference list and direct quotes)
1) How are society’s meanings about the body, health and death constructed and expressed in dominant discourses in contemporary society? What are the implications for these social constructions for power and knowledge?
2) How does the medical profession exert control over other professions in the heath care system to maintain dominance? How is this medical dominance challenged? What are the consequences for health care consumers?
3) Many of life's phenomenon and social problems are medicalised (e.g., alcoholism, pregnancy, sleep, drug addiction, body dysmorphic disorder). Discuss this statement using examples and explain what implications this has had for the health care system and society.
4) How do political, economic and socio-cultural factors shape the definitions of disease in society? Where possible use examples and theory to inform and support your discussion.
Aim: The aim of this assessment is for students to show understanding and knowledge of the unit material. Students are expected to undertake further readings, aside from the set readings, in order to complete this assessment. The task involves researching and writing a sociological essay on ONE of the three listed topics below. It is expected that you will demonstrate your familiarity with: 1) key sociological concepts, 2) relevant themes and 3) sociological theories explored through the unit. It is important to base your essay on a sociological analysis of the topic. This means you are expected to show evidence of critical thinking, which means moving beyond obvious explanations or surface understandings of the topic area to show a more complex, multifaceted grasp of the issues.
Please contact the Unit Coordinator to discuss your selected essay topic and any questions you may have regarding your essay, the assessment criteria or submission.
Assessment Due Date Week 11 Monday (22-May-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Monday, 6 June 2015
Weighting 40%
Assessment Criteria
Assessment criteria are provided below and you should refer to the assessment criteria and explanations when preparing the essay.
A summary of standards is provided on Moodle to assist students with feedback on assessment items.
Please contact the unit coordinator if you have any questions or are uncertain of what is required for the assessment. While the unit coordinator can not read and give comment on a draft assignment they can discuss with a student the arguments, ideas and theories used in the preparation of the assignment.
The following criteria will be used to grade the assignment (they are not of equal weighting):
Independent reading and research: You will be assessed on the extent, depth and relevance of your reading. You should make full use of the textbook and other readings, but it is essential that you do your own independent reading as well. This means making use of the library databases and catalogue and doing you own searches. Within the limitations of library resources, you should access the most relevant and most important works relating to your topic. It is difficult to provide exact requirements, but as a rough guide a major essay would contain at least ten references. These references should be mainly sociological books, book chapters, or journal articles; other sources may be used as appropriate to supplement these. In general the following types of sources should be avoided when writing essays—encyclopaedias, popular magazines, newspapers (except for providing up-to-date information or real life examples), introductory sociology textbooks, ordinary dictionaries (use the definitions in a specialist source; in some cases a sociology dictionary may be appropriate) and general internet sites (those containing information not peer-reviewed). You should rely mainly on specialist sources—avoid general or popular sources, except perhaps to provide evidence which is not available in the more specialist sources. Where possible use the original source, or an equivalent one.
Relevance and structure of your argument: Your assignments should be relevant to the question or task set, and should be structured in a logical and coherent fashion. The essay needs to contain an introduction, discussion, conclusion and reference list. In the essay your argument should unfold in a clear and logical manner, with appropriate signposts for the reader. Subheadings may be used in the essay to help structure your writing. An introduction sets out how you are going to approach the topic—that is, it is a statement of intent, rather than of content. You should stick to the required word length. Being under the word limit usually indicates insufficient research; being over means you are having difficulty in focusing on the most relevant or most important points.
Use of supporting evidence: Except for purely theoretical essays, it is important that you back up your arguments with appropriate and solid evidence. There is no point in simply asserting that something is true, you need to substantiate your major claims with relevant concrete information, statistical or other. In general, this would be evidence derived from sociological works that you have come across in your reading, although this may need to be supplemented with other kinds of evidence (from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, for example).
Sociological insight and understanding: You will be assessed on your ability to understand and to apply relevant concepts, theories and methodologies. Depending on the assessment task, you may only refer to one or two perspectives in a particular piece of work, but it is important to know how the perspective you refer to relates to other possible perspectives within the field. Theories do not develop in isolation. New perspectives develop through modification of previous ones, or as critical reactions against them. To appreciate any one perspective, you need to understand how it relates to the alternatives (e.g. Labelling Theory in relation to Parsons' Sick Role). Thinking critically is an important skill which follows on from such appreciation. This means being able to assess the adequacy of the theoretical models being used by the writers you refer to, as well as the adequacy of the evidence they present to support these models. Purely descriptive accounts will not be acceptable.
Originality: To get a distinction or high distinction, there needs to be evidence of critical thinking and original thought. You are encouraged to create original arguments by analysing and evaluating the works of other people in the literature. Regardless of the grade you are aiming at, you should put things into your own words as much as possible, and structure the assignment in your own way.
Presentation: There is a certain standard of presentation which is expected at this unit level. This includes correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and referencing. If there are typographical errors in your assignments, you will lose marks. You should not use sexist, racist or other forms of discriminatory language.
Referencing: All evidence and all ideas which are not your own must be adequately acknowledged at the appropriate point in the text through the Harvard system of referencing, whether you are quoting directly or paraphrasing. You should familiarise yourself with the University policy on plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined in the Undergraduate Handbook, and is explained on the University’s library website. It is essential that you know your obligations in relation to presenting well documented and original work.
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

Students MUST submit their essay as a Word file to enable marking and comments to be added.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. understand and articulate explanations of the medicalisation of society

2. describe the consequences for health of medical dominance

3. explain the sociological meanings of body, health and illness

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

6. Information Technology Competence

7. Cross Cultural Competence

8. Ethical practice

3 Online Quiz(zes)

Assessment Title Online Quiz
Task Description
The online quiz is available from 8am and it closes at 10pm (AEST) (you must commence the quiz by 9pm).
The online quiz is multiple choice requiring students to complete 60 questions in 60 minutes.
The online quiz will be made available on the day of the quiz through the unit website (Moodle). It can be completed using any computer that has internet access.
The quiz is set to test your understanding of fundamental concepts, theories and facts covered by the unit readings, lecture notes and online weekly forum questions. It covers the entire unit content (weeks 1 – 12).
This is a timed online multiple choice quiz that must be completed on the due date between the hours of 8am and 10pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time). It will be delivered through the ‘Assessment’ section of Moodle, and will only become available on the due date. Students will need to have access to a computer with Internet connection in order to complete the quiz. It is your responsibility to make time to complete the quiz on the due date, and to arrange for a reliable Internet connection.
Before you take the quiz, make sure that you are ready (i.e. a proper revision has been done) and choose a time and computer/place with minimum distraction to sit for the quiz (i.e. do not have external disturbances from people, pets, etc). Be conscious of the time limit while taking the quiz—make sure you have a clock in front of you, and note down your starting time. Plan to have started the quiz by 9.00pm (AEST) to ensure full completion before the quiz closes down at 10pm (AEST).
There is only one correct or best answer to each question, and you need to select the option corresponding to this answer.
There are no penalties for incorrect answers.
While you will be able to refer to the textbook or other resources while you are taking the quiz, you cannot afford to do this for every question because of the time limit. You need to have a good understanding of the unit content before taking the quiz.
NOTE: Each student will receive a customised quiz, chosen in random fashion, so that collusion will not be possible. The presentation of questions is ten questions at a time. You must answer the page of questions before you go on to the next one.
Remember to note the time when you start the quiz and pace yourself to ensure you have time to complete all the questions. Some practice multiple choice questions will be given to students on the Moodle site as an example.
In order to be eligible to pass the unit you must attempt and submit the quiz.
Number of Quizzes 1
Frequency of Quizzes Other
Assessment Due Date Week 12 Friday (02-Jun-2017) 10:00 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Review/Exam Week Monday (05-Jun-2017)
Weighting 30%
Submission Online

Students to attempt and submit the quiz answers online by 10pm on the quiz day (AEST)

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. understand and articulate explanations of the medicalisation of society

2. describe the consequences for health of medical dominance

3. explain the sociological meanings of body, health and illness

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

7. Cross Cultural Competence

8. Ethical practice

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