Shanghai University, Center for the History of Global Development (Web)
Proposals by: 30.06.2023
The phrase „Doing Health in Europe“ has a strange ring to it. We are not used to thinking of health as something created, like a piece of craftmanship, but if we accept that a lot of what determines health is, indeed, human-made, the question makes eminent sense. There is no doubt that health care workers, i.e. doctors, nurses, pharmacists and all other people working in the health sector, have had some impact on people’s health. By providing diagnoses and administering medicine and treatment to people who feel ill, their actions have had a direct bearing on the bodies and minds of people seeking their services. But, clearly, they are far from the only ones.
Health is a complex phenomenon, notoriously difficult to define on either an individual or collective level. It consists both of tangible and clearly measurable items, such as fevers, injuries, births and deaths, and of social constructions, notably conventions about which manifestations of body and mind are considered “healthy” or “normal”. Factors determining different levels of health, however defined, are numerous and varied. They include biomedical aspects such as the presence or absence of pathogens, but also the social determinants of health: social, economic and environmental factors such as gender relations, income distributions and food regulations. The WHO estimates that the social determinants of health account for between 30-55% of health outcomes (Web). Other experts believe their impact may decide between 80% and 90% (Web). Inasmuch as the vast majority of these socio-economic and environmental conditions have been the result of human actions, the people who were behind those actions have created health. In the sense that the understanding of health depends on their social construction, the people who were formative in such constructions have also created health. They include parents, teachers, researchers, administrators, business people, artists, politicians and possibly many more, working on different scales and with different forms of influence. Together with the healthcare workers, they have collectively formed the good, bad and mixed health outcomes experienced by Europeans throughout the twentieth century until today. Read more and source … (Web)