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Cultural analysis in the health sciences

Course Description:
If conducting any kind of research is a cultural activity, then we cannot ignore what the structures of those cultures entail. How can cultural analysis help us elucidate the epistemological and ethical consequences of this? 

Research on physical activity, bodily practices and health is to a large extend still divided according to various scientific and social/cultural perspectives. However, the very distinction between the body as biological or the body as social is in itself a culturally constituted division. This course seeks to elucidates how cultural analysis can contribute to the understanding of how the body and physical activity is constituted as an object of investigation, and which consequences that has for the development of knowledge within the health sciences. The course draws on current perspectives within cultural analysis questioning the distinction between nature and culture, as well as research that point to the way scientific cultures are constituted as culture.


The course takes place over the course of two days and is divided into four parts focusing on cultural analysis and its traditions in relation to the health sciences today, including:

-          Research in the health sciences as a culturally constituted practice

-          Investigating how the distinction biological/cultural processes operates in the health sciences

-          The “craft” of cultural analysis in different traditions and how it can be used within research in the health sciences


The course focuses on the cultural analysis of different kinds of material (whether it be material collected through observation/interviews or cultural artefacts/texts) and how that analysis might be undertaken through different perspectives.


The course addresses both PhD candidates working with cultural analysis as their primary method, and PhD candidates who work with other methods but wish to extend their epistemological understanding of how their work is situated within knowledge production in the health sciences.


The course builds on the work with an anthology on cultural analysis of body and movement cultures, initiated by the research group Movement, Culture and Society, at the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics. The anthology is written in collaboration with researchers from national fellow departments in sport sciences.


Expected learning outcomes:

At the end of the course the PhD candidate is able to:


- Account for different traditions of cultural analysis and how they contribute to the health sciences today

- Account for current perspectives within cultural analysis and the way they open up for an epistemological discussion of how research as such is culturally constituted 


- Present and discuss their own field of research of research and the way cultural analysis can contrite to clarify the epistemological starting points of the work

- Conduct cultural analysis in academic discussions and in writing in a way that is relevant to their field of research


- Understand and discuss the epistemological consequences of the fact that all research is culturally situated and constituted

- Understand and discuss the ethical considerations that this opens and the responsibility of the researcher that this entails 


Course period:  October 24th- 25th 2018


Course points: 2 ECTS


Place: SDU, Odense


Teachers: Camilla Damkjær (course director), Signe Højbjerre Larsen & Susanne Ravn


Guest lecturers:  Annemari Svendsen, Anaïs Bohuon & Hans Lund


Course Fee: The course is free of charge for PhD students enrolled in Universities that have joined the "Open market agreement". For other participants there is a course fee of DKK 8635,-.