Culture/Place/Health

Culture/Place/Health

Culture/Place/Health

Culture/Place/Health

Synopsis

Throughout the western world there is an increasing pluralism in healthcare practices and perceptions of health itself. This study reviews the current and contested nature of medical/health geography and the place of the cultural turn in this trend.

Excerpt

This book explores the links between culture, place and health from our vantage point as both cultural and health geographers. These three domains of social-scientific concern have independently, and in paired combinations, been of considerable interest to anthropologists, sociologists and geographers for some time. Recently, however, the so-called 'cultural turn' in medical geography has contributed to the transformation of this field into a new formulation as 'health geography'. the net result is an increasing interest in the way cultural beliefs and practices structure the sites of health experience and health care provision. Such sites are, from the geographer's viewpoint, best regarded as places, given the rich nuances of that term which direct attention to both identity and location (Eyles 1985).

Our efforts to draw together a focus on this tripartite set of themes is an extension of our earlier concerns with the processes of 'putting health into place' (Kearns and Gesler 1998). in that volume, we and our contributing essayists focused on difference in health outcomes and service opportunities, an established emphasis in medical geography dating from the challenges of political economy (Jones and Moon 1987; Eyles and Woods 1982). However, throughout the 1990s, emerging concerns centred on views of difference that went beyond issues of material well-being. We and colleagues were concerned with difference in places of health care as well as in the health experiences of groups defined by such markers as class, 'race', sexuality, or gender (or combinations of these identities) and how these differences might be made visible in research. the present book steps back from the earlier case study approach to provide a survey of key themes in the cultural geography of health and health care. Our goal is a book aimed at a senior undergraduate and beginning graduate audience that will provide an accessible survey containing comprehensive reference to current literature. We introduce our book by first considering the three domains we

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