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Culture/Place/Health by Wilbert M. Gesler

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Throughout the western world there is an increasing pluralism in healthcare practices and perceptions of health itself. Much of this pluralism involves place - cultural preferences may take people to different places for health care or places are also perceived as healthy or unhealthy. Internationally, there is a growing interest in the relationships between human health and the experience of place, which has been driven by developments in social and cultural theory, as well as observed health concerns. The way that places are shaped by culture will influence the way culturally contested sites, including bodies, clinics, and healing places, are perceived by different people. Culture/Place/Health first reviews the current and contested nature of medical/health geography and the place of the 'cultural turn' in this ferment. It then considers the implications of this debate for research approaches. The authors expand on concepts such as narrative, naming and metaphor as elements of understanding the way talk constructs cultures of health experience within particular places. They argue that medical issues are a necessary, but insufficient focus, in developing cultural geographies of health and healing. Putting gender, 'race', disability and sexual orientation on to the agenda, will provide an opportunity to understand difference and resistance to medical models of health. Finally the book considers the consumer's world of health care, by asking what the impacts of competitive health care consumerism will be. Culture/Place/Health is the first exploration of cultural-geographical health research for a decade, drawing on contemporary research undertaken by geographers and other social scientists to explore the links between culture, place and health. It uses a wealth of examples from societies around the world to assert the place of culture in shaping relations between health and place. It contributes to an expanding of horizons at the intersection of the discipline of geography and the multi-disciplinary domain of health concerns.
Release date NZ
November 22nd, 2001
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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