Scheda insegnamento

Anno Accademico 2017/2018

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

At the end of the course, the student will be able to: 1. to analyse the main components of the social governance systems of East European countries; 2. to recognize the social factors of a governance approach; 3. to analyse the role played by social inequalities in connection to health status; 4. to illustrate the main sociological and anthropological theories about health and wellbeing; 5. to describe the main differences between the social governance systems of East European countries and their historical roots.


The aim of this course is to give a conceptual framework and some analytical tools to examine the context of health, illness and well-being at the micro, meso and macro levels.

A large part of the course will be devoted to applying sociological concepts to different aspects of life: from everyday life to the strategies of large organizations (economic organizations, institutions, social systems).

The focus of our attention will be on health inequalities: how they are produced, their relationships with socioeconomic status, and how to minimize their effects. In order to connect theory with practice some professionals and experts will come to class to describe the relationship between urban settings and community health. An important part of the class will be devoted to the idea of medicine from the patient’s point of view. How laypeople experience health and illness, how they give meaning and narrative to disability, how they interpret symptoms, and how they may or may not cope with pathological conditions.

Special attention will be given to the phenomenon of medicalization and to the ways in which a diagnosis is socially constructed. We will examine how the bio-medical sector “invades” everyday life and how lay perspectives seek to be recognized by biomedicine. Indeed, technology plays a big role in health care today, for instance in self-care practices, leading to the idea of the “Quantified Self”.

Also, we will analyze health topics with the lenses of social justice and equity. This section will be widened to global health and the relationships between power and social determinants of health. Some dilemmas opened by human enhancement technologies will also be addressed.


HANDBOOK = Bird C.E., Conrad P., Fremont A.M. and Timmermans S. (Eds.) (2010), Handbook of Medical Sociology, Sixth Edition Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

HANDBOOK, Ch. 1, Link B. and Phelan J., Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Health Inequalities, pp.3-17,

Farmer P. (2005), Pathologies of Power, University of California Press, Berkeley: Ch. 1 On suffering and structural violence, pp. 29-50.

Kleinman A. (2010), Four social theories for global health, The Lancet, 375: 1518-1519

Maturo A. (2004), Network Governance as a Response to Risk Society’ Dilemmas: A Proposal from Sociology of Health, Topoì – International Review of Philosophy, Issue 23/vol.II: 195-202.

HANDBOOK, Ch. 8, Robert S. et al., A Life-Course Approach to the Study of Neighborhoods and Health

HANDBOOK, Ch. 4, Rieker P. et al., Understanding Gender and Health: Old Patterns, New Trends, and Future Directions

Maturo A., Mori L. and Moretti V. (2016), An Ambiguous Health Education: The Quantified Self and the Medicalization of the Mental Sphere, “Italian Journal of Sociology of Education”, 2016, 8(3), 248-268.

Hoffman B. (2002), On the Triad Disease, Illness and Sickness, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, n.6: 651-673.

HANDBOOK, Ch. 9, Barker K. The Social Construction of Illness: Medicalization and Contested Illness

MacArthur G.J. et al. (2017), Among friends: a qualitative exploration of the role of peers in young people's alcohol use using Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, field and capital, Sociology of health and illness, 39(1): 30–46

Barker, K.K. (2014). Mindfulness meditation: Do-it-yourself medicalization of every moment. Social Science & Medicine, 106, 168-176

Scalvini M. (2010), Glamorizing sick body: how advertising has changed the representation of HIV/AIDS, Social Semiotics, 20(3): 219-231

Wolf G. (2010), The Data-Driven Life, The New York Times – Sunday Review (May 2)

Uchida Y., Norasakkunkit V., Kitayama S. (2004), Cultural Construction of Happiness: Theory and Empirical Evidence, Journal of Happiness Studies, 5: 223-239.

Metodi didattici


Students are invited to give a presentation in front of the class focused on health in Central and Eastern Europe

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

Paper e esame finale orale

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

powerpoint, video in classe

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Antonio Francesco Maturo

Consulta il sito web di Monika Ewa Kaminska-Visser