Martín Hernán Di Marco
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The emergence of violence as a public health problem in Argentina
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Over the past four decades, three processes took place that reflect the emergence of violence as a public health problem in Latin America. First, these decades witnessed an increase in the volume of scientific literature related to violence, as well as in a range of publications by national and international organisations. Second, institutions focused on monitoring violence-related situations were designed. Lastly, violence appeared as a mainstream topic on the public agenda, in media debates and as a key structuring component in the representations of the population. This chapter analyses the emergence of violence as a public health problem in Argentina, from a constructivist approach. Tensions between the different explanations of this phenomenon are considered. Is the establishment of this topic in the public sphere explained by the rise of violence indicators? To what extent do statistical fluctuations explain the rise of public problems? A document analysis was conducted, reviewing papers, international organisation publications, reports and newspaper articles. This chapter typifies two mainstream approaches which explain the emergence of violence as a public health problem. Objectivist perspectives are described, characterised by interpreting public problems as a mechanical consequence of patterns in society. Perspectives which relativise the relation between the existence of a problem and its manifestations are studied. Both discourses illustrate transformations in the public health field, such as the incorporation of youth as a key actor in the understanding of violence, the conceptualisation of violence as a health issue and a shift from top-down to bottom-up policies to address this phenomenon.

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Publics and their health

Historical problems and perspectives

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