Socio-cultural Aspects of Health and the Body

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
SPSC 2205
Socio-cultural Aspects of Health and the Body
Sport Science
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Contact Hours

Leture/seminar: 4 hours/week

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Methods of instruction may include some or all of the following:

  • Lecture
  • Tutorials
  • Small and large group discussion
  • Case studies
  • Research studies (participant observation, interviews, autoethnography)
  • Debates
  • Online activities
Course Description
This course explores health and the body from a socio-cultural perspective. Social, economic, political and cultural conditions are examined for ways they impact interconnected health dimensions. Particular attention is given to social determinants of health, Canada's health care system, and social constructions of health and the body. Hands-on opportunities to conduct qualitative research within the context of health and society will be provided. Students will explore the social context of their own health experiences as well as constructions of health within the context of sport, exercise, and physical activity.
Course Content

Course Content:
1. Sociological imagination in exploring health and the body in broader historical, social and political contexts

2. Sociological theories exploring health and the body

3. Social structures, institutions and discourses influencing health and health inequities
3.1. Canada’s Health Care System

4. Understanding health
4.1. Historical and contemporary models of health
4.2. Experiences of health & illness (health discourses, health as cultural expression)
4.3. Dimensions of health and wellness

5. Social conditions influencing health and health inequities (economic, political, social, cultural)
5.1. Social determinants of health
5.2. Media as a social institution impacting health

6. Social constructions of health and the body
6.1. Healthy bodies
6.2. Gendered bodies and health
6.3. Racialized bodies and health
6.4. Healthy, aging bodies
6.5. Dis/ability and bodies
6.6. Digital health technologies (wearables; apps; digital fitness culture)

7. Researching health using qualitative methods

Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course students will:
1. Deepen their understanding of the tenets and theories related to sociology
2. Understand and critically discuss social dynamics influencing the field of physical activity, the body, and 
3. Develop and apply skills of critical inquiry in study of sport, health, and the body
4. Further develop written and oral expression of ideas (literacy)
5. Explore and apply research skills (research literacy)

On completion of this course students will be able to:

1. Identify and apply sociological theories and models of health to understand health-related situations

2. Critically assess and discuss the complex ways social, political, economic and cultural conditions impact the health of individuals and communities.

3. Identify and critically discuss the relationship between social determinants and health inequities.

4. Identify health dimensions and wellness (e.g., physical, social, emotional, mental, spiritual) and explain how they are interrelated as well as impacted by the social conditions in which we live.

5. Critically discuss the Canadian health care system and its impact on individual and community health.

6. Critically discuss how the body is shaped by the social and cultural conditions in which we live.

7. Critically discuss and assess how the cultural beliefs and social practices of sport, exercise and physical activity shape our experiences and understandings of health and “healthy” bodies. 

8. Apply research literacy skills of interpretation, synthesis, and application of peer-reviewed, health-related research studies.

9. Explore qualitative research methods such as participant observation, interview, autoethnography, and content analysis.

10. Demonstrate clarity of written and oral expression (literacy).


Means of Assessment

Means of Assessment:
Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation may include the following:


Individual research activity 0-25%
Group research project 0-25%
Contemporary case analysis 0-20%
Quizzes 0-20%
Tests (midterm &/or final) 0-30%
Contribution & Participation 0-10%
Total 100%





Textbook Materials
Reading package and textbooks will be made available through the bookstore.
Additional readings are available through the Douglas College Library

Consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials. Example textbooks and materials may include: 

Research-based journal articles available through the Douglas College Library (online); Research-based book chapters (linked online).

Which Prerequisite