Ecologies and Politics of Health  book cover
1st Edition

Ecologies and Politics of Health

ISBN 9780415590662
Published October 26, 2012 by Routledge
320 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Human health exists at the interface of environment and society. Decades of work by researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers has shown that health is shaped by a myriad of factors, including the biophysical environment, climate, political economy, gender, social networks, culture, and infrastructure. Yet while there is emerging interest within the natural and social sciences on the social and ecological dimensions of human disease and health, there have been few studies that address them in an integrated manner.

Ecologies and Politics of Health brings together contributions from the natural and social sciences to examine three key themes: the ecological dimensions of health and vulnerability, the socio-political dimensions of human health, and the intersections between the ecological and social dimensions of health. The thirteen case study chapters collectively present results from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the United States, Australia, and global cities. Section one interrogates the utility of several theoretical frameworks and conventions for understanding health within complex social and ecological systems. Section two concentrates upon empirically grounded and quantitative work that collectively redefines health in a more expansive way that extends beyond the absence of disease. Section three examines the role of the state and management interventions through historically rich approaches centering on both disease- and non-disease-related examples from Latin America, Eastern Africa, and the United States. Finally, Section four highlights how health vulnerabilities are differentially constructed with concomitant impacts for disease management and policy interventions.

This timely volume advances knowledge on health-environment interactions, disease vulnerabilities, global development, and political ecology. It offers theoretical and methodological contributions which will be a valuable resource for researchers and practitioners in geography, public health, biology, anthropology, sociology, and ecology.

Table of Contents

Foreword.  1. Human Health at the Nexus of Ecologies and Politics  Section 1: Health within Social and Ecological Systems  2. Positioning Health in a Socio-Ecological Systems Framework  3. Capitals and Context: Bridging Health and Livelihoods in Smallholder Frontiers  4. Change in Tropical Landscapes: Implications for Health and Livelihoods  Section 2: Empirical Approaches to Injury and Infectious Disease  5. Buruli Ulcer Disease: The Unknown Environmental and Social Ecology of a Bacterial Pathogen  6. The Ecology of Injuries in Matlab, Bangladesh  7. Human Settlement, Environmental Change, and Frontier Malaria in the Brazilian Amazon  Section 3: Disease Histories, the State, and [Mis]Management  8. Vaccines, Fertility, and Power: The Political Ecology of Indigenous Health and Well-Being in Lowland Latin America  9. Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis: Eradication, Control, and Coexistence in Africa  10. Geographies of HIV and Marginalization: A Case Study of HIV/AIDS Risk among Mayan Communities in Western Belize  11. The Mosquito State: How Technology, Capital and State Practice Mediate the Ecologies of Public Health  Section 4: Health Vulnerabilities  12. Exposure to Heat Stress in Urban Environments  13. Power, Race, and the Neglect of Science: The HIV Epidemics in Sub-Saharan Africa  14. Disease as Shock, HIV/AIDS as Experience: Coupling Social and Ecological Responses in Sub-Saharan Africa  15. Futures for Ecologies and Politics of Health

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Brian King is an Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Kelley A. Crews is an Associate Professor at the Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin, USA and currently is on leave as a Visiting Scientist and Program Director at the National Science Foundation, USA.


"It is definitely a volume worth reading. As I read, I reflected on the voices of the medical geographers who informed me as a graduate student more than three decades ago: John Hunter, Charles Good, Robert Roundy, Melinda Meade, and later, Jon Mayer and a myriad of others. With the exception of Mayer, those authors shared a rural, largely infectious disease focus in much of their work. Although King and Crews outline some of the shortcomings of earlier medical geography, geography has a long tradition of exploring the health implications of human–environment interactions." – AAG Review of Books, East-West Center, USA