2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

The Medicalization of America


Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 quarters

Cindy Beck , Wenhong Wang sociology, journalism, communication
Fields of Study
health and sociology
Preparatory for studies or careers in
social sciences, health sciences

Have you ever questioned why some natural occurrences such as childbirth need routine medical intervention?  Many normal processes and many pathologies have evolved into a multibillion-dollar industry.  What are the social forces behind the medical establishment in American society?  How did we get to a place where one of the largest issues raised on a federal level is health care?  How do we decide both as a society and an individual if someone is truly ill or well?

Fall quarter we will begin our exploration by looking at the conceptualization of illness and wellness, patient-health professional relationship, and the many roles assumed by each.  How do different treatment paradigms fit into the American medical model, and how does each segment of American culture fit in?

Winter quarter, building upon the concepts and theories covered in fall, we will continue to explore practical issues in health, including the unequal access to health related resources, health care reform, and ethical issues such as right to life and death, etc.

Through readings, discussions, and continued questioning, this program will start to dissect the many issues that contribute to the medicalization of America.  Human biology and basic pathology will be integrated into the curriculum to enhance students’ awareness of the medical model and how to navigate the health care system.  By examining social institutions and their influence on health and medical systems we will explore how illness is interpreted from both biological and sociological perspectives.

Advertised Schedule
6-10p Mon/Wed
Online Learning
No Required Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$15 per quarter for field trip admission fees
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
December 9th, 2011 removed faculty signature requirement from winter