General information

Subject type: Basic

Coordinator: Carolina Chabrera Sanz

Trimester: Second term

Credits: 6

Teaching staff: 

Pau Carratalà Pérez

Teaching languages

  • Catalan
  • Spanish

The subject will be taught in Catalan by default. This criterion may be modified from time to time in response to general or specific situations that require it. La llengua d'expressió de l'alumnat en el context de l'aula, així com en el desenvolupament de les diferents activitats d'avaluació, podrà ser català o castellà indistintament. Students who prefer to take the final exam in Spanish must request it from the subject at least one week in advance. 


Basic skills
  • CB4_That students can convey information, ideas, problems and solutions to an audience, both specialized and non-specialized

  • CB5_That students have developed those learning skills necessary to undertake further studies with a high degree of autonomy.

  • CB2_That students know how to apply their knowledge to their job or vocation in a professional way and have the skills that need to be demonstrated through the elaboration and defense of arguments and the resolution of problems within their area of ​​study

  • CB1_That students have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of an area of ​​study that is based on general education, and is usually found at a level that, while supported by advanced textbooks. Also includes some aspects that involve knowledge from the forefront of their field of study

  • CB3_That students have the ability to gather or interpret relevant data (usually within their area of ​​study), to make judgments that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues

Specific skills
  • CE8_Identify the psychosocial responses of people to different health situations (in particular, illness and suffering), selecting the appropriate actions to provide help in them. Establish an empathetic and respectful relationship with the patient and family, depending on the person's situation, health problem and stage of development. Use strategies and skills that allow effective communication with patients, families and social groups, as well as the expression of their concerns and interests

  • CE10_Know and identify the psychological and physical problems arising from gender violence to train the student in the prevention, early detection, assistance, and rehabilitation of victims of this form of violence

General competencies
  • CG4_Understand the interactive behavior of the person according to gender, group or community, within their social and multicultural context

  • CG11_Establish effective communication with patients, family, social groups and peers and promote health education

  • CG12_Know the ethical and deontological code of Spanish nursing, understanding the ethical implications of health in a social context of transformation

  • CG7_Understand without prejudice to people, considering their physical, psychological and social aspects, as autonomous and independent individuals, ensuring respect for their opinions, beliefs and values, guaranteeing the right to privacy, through confidentiality and professional secrecy

  • CG8_Promote and respect the right to participation, information, autonomy and informed consent in the decision-making of the people cared for, according to the way in which they live their health-illness process

Transversal competences
  • CT 1 Develop the ability to assess inequalities based on sex and gender, to design solutions


The complexity of the processes of health, disease, care and prevention call for the need for interdisciplinary analytical approaches that go beyond the limits of the so-called biomedical sciences. In response to this demand, the Anthropology of Health subject will offer the student a tour of the main fields of intersection between the Health Sciences and the Social Sciences, prioritizing the identification and recognition of the contributions made from from the anthropological perspective to the understanding of the health-illness process. At the end of the subject the student will be able to identify the social, cultural and economic-political factors that intervene in the development of this process, assimilating at the same time knowledge and reflective skills that will enable him to address health and the disease beyond its technical and biological dimension. Students will also be able to recognize the specific contributions of Anthropology to the field of health, valuing the advantages of incorporating a socio-cultural perspective into the professional practice of nursing both in a care and community context.

The program is made up of four thematic modules arranged according to the learning objectives of the subject. Through each of them, different fields of the Anthropology of Health will be explored in a compartmentalized way. Even so, the progression itinerary marked from the teaching methodology aims to promote an integrated vision of the subject, facilitating the identification of the contributions of Anthropology to the professional practice of Nursing. All modules will have a theoretical part from which the main contents explained in the syllabus will be introduced. At the same time, each module will include small group seminars where the students' ability to relate the theoretical concepts to the readings and/or case studies will be stimulated. The first three modules are designed with the general aim of introducing the students to the wide reflective field of Health Anthropology. The itinerary first proposes an approach to the concepts of society and culture, understood as constitutive elements of all human experience. Later, the program will approach the field of health, illness and care, valuing its close link with the social order and the diversity of cultural forms. Through the fourth module - "Anthropology and Nursing" - the spaces of relationship between the concepts of Anthropology and the universe of Nursing practice will be explored. The aim will be to invite the students to cast an anthropological view on the objects, debates, representations and practices of the health sciences with special attention to the Nursing profession.


MODULE 1: THE HUMAN CONDITION AND SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY (16pm): Objectives: Identify the main conditions of human existence, and understand the role of the social environment and culture in our process of adaptation to the world. Recognize the field of health and illness as realities conditioned by the social structure, and as experiences conditioned by cultural discourses. Teaching methodology and group typology: This first module will articulate 6 theoretical-reflective plenary sessions, a reading seminar and a case study. The seminars will be organized around the title "Towards a practical exploration of cultural diversity" and the groups in charge of facilitating them will attend a group tutorial beforehand.

Topic 1. The anthropological foundations of the human condition

  • 1.1 The fundamental dimensions of human existence
  • 1.2 Cognitive revolution, humanization and symbolic capacity
  • 1.3 The human being as a social and cultural being
  • 1.4 The internalization of social reality and the socialization process
  • 1.5 Investigating societies and cultures: an introduction to the ethnographic universe

Topic 2. The socio-cultural diversity of human societies

  • 2.1 Cultural diversity and representation of difference
  • 2.2 Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism
  • 2.3 Human mobility, globalization and interrelationships between cultural universes
  • 2.4 Gender, society and health

MODULE 2: THE HEALTH-DISEASE PROCESS AND MEDICAL SYSTEMS. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF HEALTH (16pm): Objectives: To understand more deeply the influence of society and culture on the health-disease process. Identify the structural features of a medical system and recognize the existing diversity at the etiological, diagnostic and therapeutic level. Know the main theoretical concepts formulated from the Anthropology of Health for the description and analysis of the different medical systems. Recognize the formation process of the Western medical system and identify its socio-cultural particularities. Teaching methodology and group typology: The module will have five theoretical plenary sessions and two seminars on ethnographic cases. The groups in charge of dynamizing them will previously attend a group tutorial.

Topic 3. Medical cultural systems and care models

  • 3.1 Conceptions of health and illness as a cultural system
  • 3.2 Culture, etiology and therapeutics I: explanatory models and therapeutic itineraries
  • 3.3 Culture, etiology and therapeutics II: care pluralism

Topic 4. Medicine, science and belief

  • 4.1 A new object of study for the anthropology of health: ethnomedicine
  • 4.2 Anthropology of health and pragmatism: case study of applied medical anthropology
  • 4.3 The reverse side of the gaze and critical medical anthropology: biomedicine as an object of study 
  • 4.4 The hegemonic medical model and subaltern medicines

Topic 5. The disease seen by anthropology. Critical approach to the hegemonic medical model

  • 5.1 The historicity of the medical view
  • 5.2 Particularism, multicausality and multidimensionality
  • 5.3 The organic correlates of cultural universes: Symbolic effectiveness and epigenetics
  • 5.4 Culture, subjectivity and corporeality 

MODULE 3: THE ECONOMIC-POLITICAL DIMENSION OF HEALTH AND ILLNESS (14pm): Objectives: Focus on the health-illness-care process from the perspective of the social structure. Understand the relationship between social inequalities and epidemiological indicators. Explore the causes and treatment of diseases from a social and economic-political perspective. Know the contributions of social epidemiology in the study of health and inequalities. Teaching methodology and group typology: The module will be developed through 4 plenary sessions of a theoretical nature, a reading seminar and a case study. The seminars will be organized around the title "Illness as a stigma" and the groups in charge of dynamizing them will attend a group tutorial beforehand.

Topic 6. Social exclusion and illness

  • 6.1 Inequality, poverty and health
  • 6.2 The social structure and the anthropology of the body: an approach to the notion of Embodiment.
  • 6.3 Social class, gender and "race": Intersectionality and health

Topic 7. Social determination of Health: structural determinants versus lifestyles

  • 7.1 The birth of Social Medicine
  • 7.2 Environment, material conditions of life and health: theoretical and methodological proposals
  • 7.3 Environment, material conditions of life and health: case study
  • 7.4 Theoretical-methodological contributions of the Anthropology of Health to the field of public health and environmental sciences
  • 7.5 Anthropology of Health, climate crisis and emerging diseases

Topic 8. Illness and social exclusion

  • 8.1 An approach to the notion of stigma in the field of health
  • 8.2 Stigma and pathologization of difference
  • 8.3 Mental health, infectious-contagious diseases and functional diversity


(14pm): Objectives: Link the background of the previous modules with the specific universe of Nursing practice. Understanding Nursing ethics from the care-curing dialectic. Understand the universal potential of the "caring" paradigm, valuing its necessary adaptability in intercultural contexts. Teaching methodology and group typology: Module 4 will have four plenary sessions and two reading seminars. The seminars will be organized around the title "(Re)thinking nursing from Anthropology" and the groups in charge of dynamizing them will previously attend a group tutorial.

Topic 9. Nursing beyond procedures

  • 9.1 Vulnerability, care, society and culture
  • 9.2 Nursing and Anthropology: a history of contacts and alliances
  • 9.3 The construction of the Ethnonursing perspective

Topic 10. Anthropology of care and transcultural nursing applied to professional practice

  • 10.1 Theoretical and methodological proposals from transcultural nursing
  • 10.2 Uses of the paradigm of transculturality: review of care cases in migratory contexts
  • 10.3 Overcoming models of cultural competence: Critical epidemiology and structural vulnerability



Evaluation system

The assessment system for the skills and learning outcomes of this subject includes different assessment activities for Subject 2 - Psychosocial Sciences:


Evaluation system

Minimum weighting

Maximum weighting

SE1. Exam




SE2. Individual works




SE3. Teamwork




SE4. Classroom participation





A system of quantitative (from 0 to 10) and qualitative (suspended, approved, notable, excellent, honorary registration) is used according to RD 1125/2003.

The total or partial copy in any of the learning activities means a "Not Presented" in the subject, without option to present in the proof of recovery and without prejudice of the opening of a file for this reason.

According to UPF regulations, students who have the option of retrieving the subject are those who have obtained a “suspended” grade, which are the only ones that can be modified in the recovery process.

The evaluation system and recovery period are detailed in the Learning Plan available in the virtual classroom at the beginning of the subject.



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