The discipline of politics examines the debates, ideas and institutions that surround community organisation and collective decision making about resources. In this chapter, the contribution of politics to health studies is examined. The first part of the chapter considers how politics is defined and how this underpins the various strands of political science. It also examines some of the key concepts of political study: power, ideology, democracy, government and the state. It also explores what contribution politics has and can make to health studies. The second part considers some of the theoretical and methodological approaches within politics. It looks at political ideologies, how they offer competing definitions of politics, varied views of the social and political world, and divergent views on health and health improvement. A case study explores how recent changes in many contemporary societies, associated in particular with neo-liberal economic policies, have led to a greater emphasis on freedom through choice. Individuals are called upon to take a greater role in self-care and risk management in relation to their bodies. At the same time the development of large multi-national companies has given rise to a system of production whereby their size and dominance have provided them with an ability to structure the food market.
Other Medicine and Health Sciences | Politics | Public Health
Bambra, C., Smith, K. and Kennedy, L. (2008). “Politics and Health”, In Naidoo, J. and Wills, J. (Eds.), Health Studies, 2nd edition Palgrave Macmillan London. pp. 257-287
Digital Commons Citation
Bambra, Clare; Smith, Katherine; and Kennedy, Lynne, "Politics and Health" (2008). Health Science. Paper 27.