medicine bottles - outport Newfoundland c. early 1900s

Sociology 3307 (Health) by Distance:

Abbreviated course overview / Cohen

The Sociology of Health is an academic exploration of the social meaning and construction of health. Designed for third year Sociology students, it is also useful for practitioners in health care and ‘lay’ persons interested in health related research.

After reviewing the academic perspectives and social determinants of health at the beginning of this course, we examine the social constructions and cultural discourses of the body, health, illness and disablement. We consider how cultural representations and iconographies parley our material realities and how the experiences of health, illness, pain and dis/ablement lead to personal growth or stigmatization and social exclusion. The latter sections of the course take a more institutional approach and students have some choices in their readings.

Required texts

During the semester, you will read MOST of:

Juanne Nancarrow Clarke's (2016) Health, Illness, and Medicine in Canada, 7th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0-19-901852-9; Health, Illness and Medicine in Canada, 7th ed.

and two designated chapters from Deborah Lupton's Medicine as Culture: Illness, Disease and the Body in Western Societies (2nd or 3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. NOTE: The 2003 edition of this text is available online; however, the ability to print is limited.

Additional journal articles and online readings are used extensively and are available through the MUN library catalogue and at the RefWorks site assigned to this course.

Course evaluation

3 "mini-assignments" (due dates will be announced) 25%
Midterm examination (Week 6 or later) 30%
Discussion / participation (optional*) 10%
Final examination (during the designated exam period) 35%

There will be a student ‘activity’ listed for each module – you are not required to do them all but for the 10% participation mark you will post a contribution for 5 of them throughout the term. You are welcome to answer more than 5 if you find it helpful: Each one is related to the reading for the relevant week and will be listed in each module under ‘Student activity’. This mark is optional and if you do not participate, the 10% will be added to the final exam as a prorated grade.

The midterm exam is scheduled for sometime after Week 6 and will cover all of the material for units one to four. The final exam is on the material from units six to twelve inclusive, but modules 10 and 12 are catch up and review weeks).

Multiple-choice and true or false questions are sometimes used as identifiers and the examples in the online self-tests highlight definitions and important concepts. However, in most semesters no more than 1/4 of the total exam marks will be derived from such questions. The other 3/4 or more of the exam will be based on short answer, short essay, and essay questions.

Details of the mini-assignments will be posted in the course content and discussed throughout the semester.


Communication is especially important for distance education students and there are a number of ways to contact me. I am available anytime on the course specific D2L site by email or posting. Students can also reach me by phone during any working day and on a specific evening each week. Details on this are sent to registered students on the course specific website.

A pdf of the compiled statistics from the CEQs for this course is available here. Feel free to email me (Linda Cohen) with any questions you have. Other addresses:

MUN's home page

Department of Sociology, MUN

Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

©Linda Cohen, 2019 (since 2003)