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Title: Health and social theory
Author: Carson, Alexander McMurdo
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis examines the relationship between the theory and practice of health. While health has become a major concern in our society, there continues to be debate about what exactly health is. This thesis engages with this debate in examining various historical and modern definitions of health. Beginning with the Greeks and continuing through to modern and post-modern theories of health, this thesis evaluates these definitions in terms of their implications for the kind of practice they articulate. Chapter 1 examines the work of three prominent modern theorists; Parsons, Garfinkel and Foucault. While these theorists have been influential in defining modern versions of health, we find that their theories are difficult to practice. Chapter 1 concludes with a crisis in that we seem to have no version of health that we can practice. The search for a theory of health which we can live with is taken up in Chapter 2, in an examination of the work of Martha Nussbaum. Nussbaum wants to define health as a flexible life, but we find that this proposal, though admirable in many respects, fall short in terms of practice. In Chapter 3, we examine the work of Alan Blum and Peter McHugh, two analysts, in their definition of health as Principled action. This definition of health is found to not only allow us to live healthy lives but also to realize the significance of this healthy life. The work of Charles Taylor and his definition of health as engagement is examined in Chapter 4. Taylor's work is found to provide, like Blum & McHugh, a version of health that can enhance our practice. We conclude with the notion that these two versions of health could allow us to develop ourselves in healthy ways.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available