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This course aims to provide a broad understanding of some of the principal discussions in medical sociology from the perspective of public health practice. The courses teaches some key social scientific tools, and considers their use as applied to contemporary public health issues, with a particular focus on surveillance and global health. We will consider social scientific research on a selectionof topics such as medicalisation, public understandings of disease & contagion, risk, infectious disease surveillance and preparedness, transformations in digital epidemiology, empowerment & health equity as well as biosecurity & biodefense. In examining this research we will be identifying some of the different (and sometimes competing) theories of power, risk, globalisation and embodiment being employed by medical sociologists and anthropologists. We will be examining what social science can contribute to key debates in public health and health governance.

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 1



Delivery Mode

Fully online

Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Prerequisite: Students who are not enrolled in a postgraduate program in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine will need to provide approval from their program authority and the approval of the course convenor to

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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