Health and illness are usually considered as bodily conditions, which can be understood and dealt with by employing perspective of natural sciences. However, in reality border between biological and social is not clearly cut. Our health status is to a large extant influenced by our social status (inequalities in access to healthcare is a vivid example). Medical practice and health seeking behavior are conditioned by social, political and cultural environment. The very definitions of health and illness vary depending on historical epoch and type of society.
This course is focused on conceptions of health, and contextual characteristics that shape notions of health and determine approaches to its governance in different cultural, geographical and political contexts. While health, as well as illness, constitute subject of concern for a number of academic disciplines, including both natural and social sciences, there is a lack of a comprehensive interdisciplinary view on the phenomenon and on the ways through which ‘good health’ is co-produced by different actors in modern world.
The course is explicitly interdisciplinary. It draws from the more traditional health-related fields such as epidemiology and clinical medicine, but simultaneously it interrogates and critiques prevailing causality claims, bringing insights from public health, sociology, anthropology, and political economy. All disciplines have myopias. The restricted gaze of each discipline can illuminate certain health problems and potential solutions; but only when they are taken together with a fully integrated approach can we build, properly, an understanding of health and possibilities for health governance. In this course we will delve into the complexities of causation and the structures that pattern both the risk of ill health and access to quality health services. Our discussion will be focused on concepts and approaches that inform the biosocial analysis requisite for meaningful action based on understanding of complex problems in complex settings. You can check the course syllabus below.