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ASS706 - Poverty, Health and Illness

Unit details

Note: You are seeing the 2014 view of this unit information. These details may no longer be current. [Go to the current version]
Year2014 unit information
Enrolment modes:Trimester 2: Cloud (online)
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit chair:D Giles


You will need to access substantial learning resources and experiences in CloudDeakin (Deakin’s online learning environment). Compliance with the Standards in computing, connectivity and student capability are a condition on your enrolment.


The study of human knowledge systems in the area of health and illness lies at the heart of anthropology as a whole. Anthropologists seek a holistic understanding of what constitutes health and illness in various societies, belief about the workings and causes of disease, approaches to remedies and cures, understandings of the body, the role of economic, political, spiritual and other social factors in relation to the health of individuals and societies. Appreciating the diversity of approaches to health and illness is key to the role of medical anthropologists and this branch of the discipline forms a major point of articulation between anthropology and other sciences.

In this unit, students will learn and critique key concepts and approaches in medical anthropology, as well as anthropological debates in the field, through both the study of non-western medical knowledge systems as well as the study of western medicine, or biomedicine, as a distinctive cultural system. Through detailed case studies of different medical phenomena and how humans act in relation to these phenomena, students will examine health and healing from a cross-cultural perspective. Fundamental concepts such as the division between mind and body, the idea of disease pathology, plural medical systems and culture-bound syndromes will be examined. Special emphasis is given to studying developing or third world contexts where disparities in wealth and resources impact upon health.


Short Essay (40%), Research Essay (60%)

Unit Fee Information

Student Contribution Rate*Student Contribution Rate**Fee rate - Domestic Students Fee rate - International students

* Rate for all CSP students, except for those who commenced Education and Nursing units pre 2010
** Rate for CSP students who commenced Education and Nursing units pre 2010
Please note: Unit fees listed do not apply to Deakin Prime students.

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