||Embodying Inequality: Epidemiologic Perspectives
Edited by Nancy Krieger
Policy, Politics, Health and Medicine Series, Vicente Navarro, Series Editor
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IN PRAISE OF
"The range and quality of the material selected for inclusion are impressive and reflect favorable on the more than three decades of editorial leadership of Johns Hopkins health policy scholar Vicente Navarro at the International Journal of Health Services. Embodying Inequality lays the groundwork for an etiologic model of the production of health disparity. For those who view health as a basic human right, it is therefore also an etiologic model of injustice."
—Jay S. Kaufman, Ph.D., University of North Carolina School of Public Health, The New England Journal of Medicine, July 7, 2005
"Inequalities in health require a mixture of scholarly and social activism. The volume, splendidly edited by Nancy Krieger, demonstrates that the necessary connections between these domains can indeed be made. Inequality is more than skin deep-it is literally written into the body-and it also scars the body politic. The insights into these issues provided by the contributors to Embodying Inequality will counterbalance the individualizing focus of many of the official responses to health inequalities. The publication of this book should usher in a new period of activist-scholarship."
—George Davey Smith, MD DSc Department of Social Medicine, Bristol, UK
"Identifying and redressing inequalities in health is a priority for all public health workers, for we will not achieve our national health goals if we do not reduce these gaps. This thoughtful volume challenges the public health practitioner to think beyond the statistics about risk behavior and disease patterns. It is a welcome and useful addition."
—Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, Deputy Commissioner, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
"For everyone-student, researcher, citizen, policymaker-seeking to understand the roots of inequality and the profound impact of social policy on health, Embodying Inequality is an unparalleled resource. In chapter after chapter, it merges empirical investigation and thoughtful analysis to identify the causes of the disparities in health status associated with social class, income, occupation, race, gender, and discrimination. This landmark collection illustrates the power of social epidemiology to define the pathways from social injustice to inequalities in health."
—H. Jack Geiger, MD, Arthur C. Logan Professor Emeritus of Community Medicine, City University of New York Medical School
ABOUT THE BOOK
To advance the epidemiological analysis of social inequalities in health, and of the
ways in which population distributions of disease, disability, and death reflect embodied
expressions of social inequality, this volume draws on articles published in the
International Journal of Health Services between 1990 and 2000. Framed by
ecosocial theory, it employs ecosocial constructs of "embodiment";
"pathways of embodiment"; "cumulative interplay of exposure,
susceptibility, and resistance across the lifecourse"; and "accountability
and agency" to address the question; who and what drives current and changing
patterns of social inequalities in health.
Section I, Social Epidemiology: History, Hypotheses, Methods, and
Measurement, focuses on theories and constructs useful for analyzing social
inequalities in health related to class, race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and
disability. Rather than construing these aspects of lived experiences of inequality
as solely a matter of personal "identities" and "behaviors," the contributors
consider how the political and economic context in which people live enhances—or
destroys—their abilities to live healthy, dignified lives.
Section II, "EmpiricalInvestigation: Social Epidemiology at Work," moves
from concepts and critiques to critical applications, via concrete analyses of
diverse determinants of social inequalities in health. These determinants include
economic and social deprivation; toxic substances and hazardous conditions; social
trauma, including institutional and interpersonal discrimination and violence;
targeted marketing of harmful commodities; and inadequate or degrading medical care.
Together, these chapters clarify the importance of conceptualizing hypotheses in
relation to the political and material as well as the psychological conditions in
which people live, love, work, fight, play, ail, and die.
Epidemiologists, public health researchers, public health practitioners, public health
advocates and activists, public health historians, health care providers, policymakers,
social scientists; health researchers, practitioners, advocates and policymakers concerned
with social disparities in health, including class inequalities (including occupational
health), racial/ethnic inequalities, gender inequalities and women's health, and disparities
involving sexuality (including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health) and
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Nancy Krieger, a social epidemiologist, is Associate Professor in the Department of
Society, Human Development and Health at Harvard School of Public Health; Associate
Director of the Harvard Center of Society and Health; and cofounder and chair of the
Spirit of 1848 Caucus of the American Public Health Association. Krieger received her
Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989. Her
background includes biochemistry, philosophy of science, and the history of public
health. She also has 20 years of engagement in issues of social justice, science, and
health. Her work focuses on the etiology of, monitoring of, and theories to explain
population distributions of disease and social disparities in health.
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