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- Collective health
- health systems
- health inequities
- human rights
- indigenous health
- Latin American Social Medicine
- social determinants of health
- social inequalities in health
- international health
- philosophy of science
- social epidemiology
- social inequalities
- theory social change
Rapidly rising interest—from national and international health organisations, governments, civil society, the private sector and myriad academic disciplines—in what has become known as the ‘social determinants of health’1 2 is welcome to the many, in and outside of public health, who have long held that issues of social justice and the public's health are inextricably linked (box 1).2 3 As inevitably happens, however, when an issue gets ‘mainstreamed’, a multiplicity of disparate voices enter the discussion, informed by not only different disciplinary vantages, but also divergent values, priorities and politics.
Box 1 Political, historical, intellectual and economic context of a Latin American/North American discussion about societal determinants of between-country and within-country health inequities
Political, historical, and intellectual context
Explicit efforts to develop theories articulating the causal connections between political economy, social injustice and health inequities can readily be traced back to the mid-19th century.2–8 Examples include the European writings of Rudolf Virchow (1821–1902) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) in the 1840s, as linked to societal upheavals spurred by the rise of industrial capitalism, along with their subsequent elaborations in the early 20th century by European, North American and Latin American analysts and politicians, such as Chilean president Salvador Allende (1908–1973), variously concerned with the health impact of political and economic systems, and political and economic injustice, both within and across nations and regions.2–6 More recent antecedents include: A. the rise of critical science frameworks during the 1960s and 1970s, including within the health fields, as spurred by post-World War II national liberation and anti-imperialist movements along with the emergence of worldwide social movements regarding racism, indigenous rights, gender, sexuality, human rights and the environment (ecology), and B. since the mid-1990s, a renewed round of theorising …
Funding No funding supported preparation of this manuscript. Funds to cover the workshop expenses were provided by the Harvard University Center for Population and Development.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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