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Constructive conversations about health: policy and values
  1. Sanjoy Bhattacharya
  1. The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London, London, UK; sanjoy.bhattacharya{at}

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Edited by M Marinker. . Radcliffe Publishing, Oxford, 2006, pp 248, £29.95 (paperback) ISBN 101-84619-033-9

Health has multiple meanings—those constructed by medical professionals, governments and their representatives, multilateral agencies and their employees and, not least, by those touched by medical and public health schemes. These visions frequently differ, as a range of collective and individual priorities and calculations affect policy making, the implementation of projects and their reception in society in myriad ways. Visible in all geographical, social and political contexts, these trends are often downplayed by commentators working with an agenda to present health-related activity as something requiring centralised planning and direction. What such sanitized and predetermined descriptions often lack is a detailed assessment of how communities can actually participate in and thereby strengthen medical and public health campaigns; such accounts, whatever their provenance, need to be questioned and corrected.

This edited collection of papers is valuable precisely as it enlivens us to a wide range of perspectives and possibilities. Health, as the editor and …

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