Within contemporary society the meaning of ‘health’ is surprisingly unstable. Guiding principles that once seemed self-evident have been challenged by new social, scientific and economic forces. This book argues that the foundational terms and concepts, which form the basic building blocks of dialogue about health, are now in flux.
While the forces in play differ, and the pace of change is varied, there is now a ‘brave new world’ of health which characterises policy debate about health (and illness or disability). This permeates even the more narrow technical issues within clinical medicine, the law and medical science. This construction and reconstruction of health has important implications for the development of law and policy.
The book draws on international and local experts to explore these issues. It opens with consideration of the economic and social forces of ‘globalisation’ – the macro level forces which now shape the ‘lived realities’ of health for the world’s people. This is then contextualised through a series of detailed ‘case studies’ of more localised examples including; pharmaceuticals, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, body modification, abortion, anorexia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The book also interrogates the way modern health research influences public conceptions of health. Across these issues the book canvasses the social forces at work in the construction of health, disability and illness in shaping our understandings of such concepts by the public, by individuals, by the courts, and by international bodies. Brave New World of Health is an important contribution to advancing that understanding.