The Sociology of Health Promotion: Critical Analyses of Consumption, Lifestyle, and Risk

The Sociology of Health Promotion: Critical Analyses of Consumption, Lifestyle, and Risk

The Sociology of Health Promotion: Critical Analyses of Consumption, Lifestyle, and Risk

The Sociology of Health Promotion: Critical Analyses of Consumption, Lifestyle, and Risk

Synopsis

Promotion of health has become a central feature of health policy at local, national and international levels, forming part of global health initiatives such as those endorsed by the World Health Organisation. The issues examined in The Sociology of Health Promotion include sociology of risk, the body, consumption, processes of surveillance and normalisation and considerations relating to race and gender in the implementation of health programmes. It will be invaluable reading for students, health promoters, public health doctors and academics.

Excerpt

During the last few decades inordinate attention has been paid to the promotion of 'healthy' living. This has come from governmental, academic, commercial and popular sources. Few people today can be unaware of the espoused merits of such a lifestyle. Anyone who has visited a supermarket recently, turned on the television, listened to the radio or read a magazine must have noticed that awareness of health issues is growing. Health is clearly a topical issue at both political and cultural levels.

At the political level from the mid-1970s, starting with Prevention and Health: Everybody's Business (DHSS, 1976a), there has been a dramatic increase in the number of policy documents and statements on prevention and, since the early 1980s, health promotion (see Parish, this volume, for a review). More recently a high profile has been given to The Health of the Nation (Department of Health, 1992a) and its attendant targets and to subsequent documents such as Working Together for Better Health (Department of Health, 1993a). It provides an interesting example of the 'globalisation' of policy and politics in that many of these documents and statements produced in Britain have drawn upon frameworks developed internationally by the World Health Organisation's Health For All (HFA) initiative. However, this said, such global initiatives may be interpreted very disparately by different nation states, and this process of policy mediation can tell us much about the policy and ideological priorities of different political regimes (Gustafsson and Nettleton, 1992).

At a cultural level 'healthism' has become a central plank of contemporary consumer culture as images of youthfulness, vitality, energy and so on have become key articulating principles of a range of contemporary popular discourses (Featherstone, 1991a; Savage et al., 1992; Bunton and Burrows, this volume; Glassner, this volume; Hepworth, this volume). In the 1960s a list of 'health-related' commodities would have included items such as aspirins, TCP, Dettol and plasters. Today, however, it would . . .

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