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Social Context and Health
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medical sociology
fundamental cause

How to Cite

Feldman, Karie. 2014. “Social Context and Health”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, November. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


The underlying conditions in our society influence the diseases that individuals experience as well as the resources allocated to prevent disease. Historically, the government’s reaction (or lack thereof) to HIV/AIDS offers an illustrative example of how a marginalized population experiences differential treatment in terms of health. More currently, we...

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Subject Area(s):
Medical Sociology
Resource Type(s):
Class Level(s):
College 300
Class Size(s):

Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Connect social context to the experience of disease and illness and use current events and policies to better understand the fundamental causes of disease.
  2. Understand the differential treatment of individuals based on public assessment of the proximate causes of disease.
  3. Weigh the public health concerns of society with the rights of individuals to privacy.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students’ understanding of concepts discussed in class and presented in readings and films will be assessed through a paper that asks them to apply these ideas to current events.
  2. Students will be expected to think critically about the ways in which academic and popular culture come together in our understanding of health.
  3. Students will be able to relate ideas to broader sociological concepts in order to understand how marginalized populations can be denied resources in systematic ways even in today’s society.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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