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Ota de Leonardis

Social policy plays a very important role in the social quality of Europe, and not only because it considerably affects the life conditions of the population. I will argue that its structure and weight affects at least as much: (a) the possibility of acknowledging as common goods social benefits such as health, education, social security; and (b) the presence of public discourse arenas about these goods, where the daily life of democracy is carried out. This is why social policy holds a great importance even for the building of European democracy, and for Europe's socio-political integration in itself.

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Social Capital and Health

Research Findings and Questions on a Modern Public Health Perspective

Ota de Leonardis

This article aims at contributing to the discussion on the features of public health systems consistent with the broader definition of health – broader than the strictly bio-medical one – which is currently accepted in the related literature. The questions it raises are on how social capital influences well-being, and on whether and how it can be recognized and cultivated as a basic resource for health, and integrated into the health systems. In the first part, research literature on the ways health conditions are correlated with both poverty and social capital is briefly discussed. In the second part, several cases on health prevention and rehabilitation programs are analysed in some detail, as they appear to improve the health conditions of a community by investing in its 'social capital'. The main insights are on how to combine social protection with individual agency.

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Wolfgang Beck, Jan Berting, Peter Herrmann, Thomas Lenk, Ota de Leonardis, Laurent J.G. van der Maesen, Iñigo Sagardoy de Simón, Ivan Svetlik, Zsusza Széman, Volkmar Teichmann, Göran Therborn, Christiane Villain-Gandossi, Alan Walker and Sue Yeandle

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Paul Bissell, Denis Bouget, Steven Dhondt, Ota de Leonardis, Peter R. A. Oeij, Cathy Read, Paul Redgrave, Peter Taylor-Gooby, Philippe Tessier, Johan Van de Kerckhove, Paul Ward and Noortje M. Wiezer

Notes on contributors