The politics of health promotion

Case studies from Denmark and England

The inhabitants of most OECD countries tend to regard state intervention in the everyday lives of individual citizens and in society at large with certain scepticism. Health promotion is really not about curing diseases or even about preventing diseases. The overall aim of this book is to provide a critical understanding of current health promotion ideas and practices unfolding in liberal democracies. It identifies and discusses the merits and the limitations of the most influential political science and sociological analyses seeking to critically address contemporary politics of health. Foucault's analytics of power and government are discussed. The book then seeks to provide a solid understanding of the wider political context of health promotion in England and Denmark, examining obesity control in these regions. It also analyses how and why psychiatric patients, particularly those with chronic mental illness in England and Denmark, are urged to take charge of their mental illness with reference to the notion of rehabilitation. Key shifts in predominant forms of political rationalities and expert knowledge on how best to treat psychiatric patients are also analysed. Finally, the book examines how expert knowledge and political rationalities informed political interventions (policies, programmes, and technologies) in an attempt to promote rehabilitation along with increased implementation of community- based treatment. It summarizes the analytical findings regarding the governing of citizens through lifestyle and rehabilitation respectively. Further research is required on the politics of health promotion.

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