Health as Social Phenomena

What are the social factors that affect health of individuals and a community?

This course allows students to examine how health and ill-health are produced, experienced, practiced and promoted at the confluence of several factors and processes. Specifically, it will allow students to locate the health of individuals and populations at the intersections of biology, culture, politics, and society. 

It illustrates how biomedicalised understanding of health tends to obscure multiple perspectives and experiences on health, health care and well-being. More importantly, it underplays the fact that health (including public health) is necessarily situated in society’s social, economic, and political structures, institutions, and processes.

It thus unpacks the social, cultural, political, and environmental determinants of health and explains why it is important to understand societal arrangements based on caste, class, gender, ethnicity, religion, rural, urban, and tribal to understand health and health inequalities. 

It would draw on social science theories/​concepts including social constructionism, political economy, phenomenology, (concepts including structural violence, embodiment, social suffering, vulnerability, bio-power) that have been helpful to illustrate the social and political perspectives on health. 

While it would draw on global debates on social determinants of health and health equity, it would ground the discussions in the Indian context drawing on pluralistic evidence, contexts, and health conditions.