Synopses & Reviews
Health and Other Unassailable Values sets out to examine health as a core cultural value. Taking health, evidence and ethics as her primary themes, Bell explores the edifice that underpins contemporary conceptions of health and the transformations in how we understand it, assess it and enact it. Although health, evidence and ethics have always been important values, she demonstrates that the grounds upon which they are grasped today are radically different from how they were formulated in the past.
Divided into three parts, Part I focuses on the rise of epidemiology, Part II examines the emergence of evidence-based medicine, and Part III explores the broader ethical turn in health and medicine. Through an examination of core concepts including health behaviour, the randomised controlled trial, informed consent and human rights, Bell illustrates the ways in which certain entrenched ideas and assumptions about how human beings think and act recur across a variety of settings. An array of topical case studies, including cigarette packaging legislation, the incorporation of male circumcision as an HIV prevention tool, cancer screening technologies and e-cigarettes, ground the arguments presented.
Written in a clear and engaging style, this volume will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students, especially those in medical anthropology, medical sociology and public health. Clear chapter delineations make the work easy to engage with at the individual chapter level as well as a whole.