The Health of Populations: General Theories and Particular Realities

Hardcover | January 5, 2007

byStephen J. Kunitz

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In the maelstrom of current public health debate over the social determinants of health, this book offers a well-balanced discussion on the roots of prevalent strains of thought on the matter. While this area of research deals in complex problems, it is often dominated by those who deployrather categorical, partisan positions, citing from a wide range of contradictory statistical studies. Stephen Kunitz brings a measured, balanced and independent perspective to bear on the debate, taking a step back from current arguments to look at the fundamental issues through a socio-historicallens. Part I describes how ideas about the costs and benefits of industrialization, and about the causes of disease, have been used by writers from different ideological persuasions to explain the health of populations. Part II focuses on some of the ideas that have been particularly influential incontemporary debates: factors such as standard of living, community and its loss, inequality, and globalization. The fact that these have been used to support differing explanations of the determinants of population health suggests that there are no easy generalizations in a field with so manydiscrepant findings. Scientists often ignore anomalous findings in the interests of advancing a particular paradigm, until the anomalies outweigh the norm and a new paradigm is created. This book argues that in considering social determinants of health, no meaningful over-arching explanations may bepossible. Rather, it is by immersion in the reality of particular contexts - work settings, historical periods, geopolitical regions, and governmental credos - that we may gain a better understanding of the way in which social forces shape patterns of health and disease.

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In the maelstrom of current public health debate over the social determinants of health, this book offers a well-balanced discussion on the roots of prevalent strains of thought on the matter. While this area of research deals in complex problems, it is often dominated by those who deployrather categorical, partisan positions, citing f...

Stephen Kunitz is a Professor in the Division of Social and Behavioral Medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center.

other books by Stephen J. Kunitz

Regional Cultures and Mortality in America
Regional Cultures and Mortality in America

Kobo ebook|Dec 15 2014

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 6.3 × 9.29 × 0.91 inPublished:January 5, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195308077

ISBN - 13:9780195308075

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionTwo Revolutions. 1Counter Revolution. 2The Standard of Living. 3Inequality. 4Community. 5Globalization. 6Epilogue. 7AppendicesAppendix 1: Cohort AnalysesAppendix 2: The conundrum of tuberculosisAppendix 3: The Body mass Index and changing mortality

Editorial Reviews

"In this captivating new book, Stephen J. Kunitz reminds us of the constant tension between our individual destinies and the communities in which we live."--Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health