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PHH2022: Culture, society and health

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate – Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal datesfor the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences




South Africa

  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


One of the following units: HSC1081, HSC1112, PHH1081, PHH1112.


HSC2022, PBH2003


This unit will explore how individual and population experiences of health are shaped by culture and society. The unit draws on key sociological and anthropological theories and concepts to reveal explanations for health in respect of larger socio-cultural realities and political processes. Students will be encouraged to foster skills in critical deconstruction of Western representations of culture to arrive at an appreciation of various ‘ways of knowing’, including Indigenous scholarship. There will be a focus on global health and in particular, Indigenous people, place, culture and health.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Apply key principles of sociological and anthropological thought to the lived experience of individuals and populations.
  2. Apply the themes associated with the sociological imagination to examine the social production, construction and organisation of health locally and globally.
  3. Apply sociological theories as analytical tools to critically examine cultural, social, political and economic factors influencing health.
  4. Critically examine and evaluate aspects of culture and society with which they are familiar (as well as historical representations) in order to extend their understanding of the socio-cultural structures, institutions and processes relevant to health globally.


  • Individual journal (1,200 words) (15%)
  • Individual analysis (1,500 words) (30%)
  • Group presentation (15 minutes) (15%)
  • Individual essay (2,000 words) (40%)

Hurdle: 80% attendance at tutorials.

Workload requirements

3 hours contact time per week (1 hour lecture 2 hour tutorial / workshop) PLUS 9 hours of private study hours per week.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Jackie Witthuhn

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Public health – South Africa

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