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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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Andrew M. Courtwright

Philosophical and political discussions of health inequalities have largely focused on questions of justice. The general strategy employed by philosophers like Norman Daniels is to identify a certain state of affairs—in his case, equality of opportunity—and then argue that health disparities limiting an individual's or group's access to that condition are unjust, demanding intervention. Recent work in epidemiology, however, has highlighted the importance of socioeconomic status in creating health inequalities. I explore the ways in which theories of justice have been expanded in light of this data, suggesting that more work is required if such theories are to provide an adequate framework for addressing health disparities. I conclude by sketching an alternative possibility for thinking about health disparities outside of the context of justice.

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Humans, Animals, and Health

From Ecology to Entanglement

Alex M. Nading

Medical and environmental social scientists have recently become interested in how health brings human and nonhuman animals together. is article discusses historical approaches to this question. It then explores applied disease ecology, which examines how anthropogenic landscape change leads to “disease emergence.” The article goes on to review two critical approaches to the question. Critics of bio-security concern themselves with the ways in which animal and human lives are regulated in the context of “emerging diseases” such as avian influenza and foot and mouth disease. Scholarship on human-animal “entanglement” focuses on the ways in which disease, instead of alienating humans from other life forms, brings their intimate relationships into sharper relief. The article argues that health is one terrain for developing a critical environmental analysis of the production of life, where life is the ongoing, dynamic result of human and nonhuman interactions over time.

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Women’s Health in Central Asia

The Case of Female Suitcase Traders

Muyassar Turaeva

This article assesses the social factors that influence the health of female suitcase traders and the health risks related to the trade as an occupation. The findings indicate that it is imperative to study the health of small-scale traders within the framework of occupational health. Suitcase trade is widespread in both developing countries and the post-Soviet region, and recognising it as an occupation makes it possible to research related health issues. This in turn can lead to the discovery of specific patterns regarding health risks and the treatment of typical illnesses of suitcase traders, thus facilitating comparison with other occupational health research. The article examines existing barriers to health for women in Central Asia and summarises the quality and content of the treatment that is available.

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Jhan Van de Kerckhove

The current prevention policy continues to be reactive. It is even negative and demotivating. This atmosphere is destroying the working conditions we need in our new social-economic environment. Quality of work has become top of the agenda together with creativity, personal development and involvement. The human being is transformed from a potential source of disturbance into an essential success factor. A new approach to prevention policy is imposing itself in this context. Caring for safety, health and well-being of the employees at the same time means caring for the well-being and the future of the organization. The great challenge now becomes the development of the human potential. In that perspective a real proactive prevention policy is needed. Proactivity implies prevention but goes much further. Real proactivity refers to the dreams and positive objectives people wish to see realised. Well-being, participation and empowerment of all participants are important targets while the expected implications for culture are commitment, trust and open communication. This approach is very close to the conditional factors of social quality as described in the report of the European Foundation on the European Network Indicators of Social Quality.

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Dudziro Nhengu

English abstract: This article is a feminist theoretical examination of the nexus between migrants’ health and gender and attempts to fill the gap between existing gendered health and migration policies. Gender-specific challenges faced by female migrants include poor sexual and reproductive health rights, infant mortality, nutritional disorders, and violence. Non-communicable diseases provoke interruption of care in the absence of suitable health care systems and services. As policy makers struggle to develop suitable migration policies, the needs of women often fall through the cracks. Major findings are that migration policy design from micro to macro levels does not align with ratified international protocols on health, resulting in multiple vulnerabilities of female migrants. The study concludes that bilateral migration policy agreements should be comprehensive, binding, gender-sensitive, and participatory.

Spanish abstract: Este es un examen teórico feminista del nexo entre salud de los migrantes y género, e intenta llenar el vacío entre las políticas existentes de salud y migración de género. Las mujeres migrantes enfrentan desafíos específicos de género incluyendo limitados derechos de salud sexual y reproductiva, mortalidad infantil, trastornos nutricionales y violencia. Las necesidades de las mujeres a menudo se quedan atrás en el desarrollo de políticas de migración adecuadas. Los principales hallazgos son que el diseño de la política de migración de los niveles micro a macro no se alinea con los protocolos internacionales de salud ratificados, resultando en múltiples vulnerabilidades de mujeres migrantes. El estudio concluye que los acuerdos de política bilateral de migración deben ser integrales, vinculantes, sensible al género y participativos.

French abstract: Cet article théorique examine, dans une perspective féministe, les liens entre la santé des migrants et le genre et tente de combler le fossé entre les politiques migratoires et de santé. Les défi s spécifiques des femmes migrantes incluent l’accès à la santé sexuelle et reproductive, la mortalité infantile, les troubles nutritionnels et la violence. Leurs besoins sont souvent omis dans l’élaboration des politiques migratoires. Cet article montre que la conception de la politique migratoire à partir d’une échelle micro vers un niveau macro ne correspond pas aux protocoles internationaux ratifiés sur la santé, ce qui entraîne de multiples vulnérabilités des femmes migrantes. Il conclut que les accords bilatéraux en matière de migration doivent être exhaustifs, contraignants, sensibles au genre et participatifs.

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Yagoub Yousif Al-Kandari

The rate of consanguineous marriage in Kuwait is considered to be high. Several research studies have shown that marriage among relatives is one of the major factors leading to health problems because it increases homozygosis. This article deals with both cultural and physical aspects by examining the health consequences of consanguineous marriages in Kuwait. Variables such as reproductive wastage, health problems in the offspring and infant mortality are included and measured in relation to other socio-cultural variables. Cultural variables such as the respondents' roots (Bedouin and non-Bedouin) and beliefs (Muslim Sunni and Muslim Shi'a) are also examined. The results show that there is no significant association between consanguineous and non-consanguineous marriages in the rate of abortion or the mortality of infants and children up to five years old. Finally, the data reveal significant differences between the genetic and genetic-environmental diseases in consanguineous couples' offspring and those of non-consanguineous couples. Since some of these findings contradict those of other studies, more research is needed.

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Boys, Inclusive Masculinities and Injury

Some Research Perspectives

Adam White and Stefan Robinson

IMT scholars have not yet tackled. In this article, we start the debate on the intersection of inclusive masculinities and health, with particular reference to contemporary views toward injuries and injurious sports ( Pollock 2014 ). Looking at three

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Girlhood and Ethics

The Role of Bodily Integrity

Mar Cabezas and Gottfried Schweiger

being intimately related to bodily integrity. These capabilities range from being able to lead a life in which health, nutrition, shelter, mobility, reproductive rights and so on feature to being able to play and have fun, and from being able to enjoy

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Approaching Health in Landscapes

An Ethnographic Study with Chronic Cancer Patients from a Coastal Village in Northern Norway

Magdalena Skowronski, Mette Bech Risør and Nina Foss

Studies have shown that chronic cancer patients (CCPs) 1 are concerned about possible relapse and their health in general ( Harrington et al. 2010 ; Larsson et al. 2008 ). Previous research has shown how people perceive certain places to be