Article

Public Health

Christopher Hamlin

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199546497
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199546497.013.0023

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Public Health

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This article begins with an expansive and ideal concept of health, which can serve as an analytical tool to evaluate public health. History is frequently deployed in the shaping of public health institutions. As such, public health history has often been a form of social criticism. It recognizes ways in which a society has not facilitated health and explores how it might better do so. This article discusses three reasons that project of bettering the public's health draws on history. Interest in public health emerged at the confluence of two related historical questions, which, with some additions, continue to frame much public health history. The grand issues of politics, power, and possibility remain central; the prospect for policies that will improve health overall is much less positive than it once was.

Keywords: public health; social criticism; politics; history; policies

Article.  9318 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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