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Equity is out of fashion? An essay on autonomy and health policy in the individualized society

Lindbladh, Eva; Lyttkens, Carl Hampus LU ; Hansson, Bertil S. and Östergren, Per-Olof (1998) In Social Science and Medicine 46(8). p.1017-1025
Abstract
It is widely recognized that there is a discrepancy between principle and practice with respect to the health equity aim of public policy. This discrepancy is analyzed from two theoretical perspectives: the individualization of society and the fact that individual beliefs and values are connected to one’s position in the social structure. These mechanisms influence both the choice of health policy measures and the normative judgements of preventive efforts, both of which tend to be consonant with the views of dominant social groups. In particular, we focus on the treatment of the ethical principle of autonomy and how this is reflected in health policy aimed at influencing health-related behaviour. We examine the current trend towards... (More)
It is widely recognized that there is a discrepancy between principle and practice with respect to the health equity aim of public policy. This discrepancy is analyzed from two theoretical perspectives: the individualization of society and the fact that individual beliefs and values are connected to one’s position in the social structure. These mechanisms influence both the choice of health policy measures and the normative judgements of preventive efforts, both of which tend to be consonant with the views of dominant social groups. In particular, we focus on the treatment of the ethical principle of autonomy and how this is reflected in health policy aimed at influencing health-related behaviour. We examine the current trend towards targeting health information campaigns on certain socio-economic groups and argue that it entails an ethical dilemma. The dominant discourse of the welfare state is contemplated as a means to understand why there tend to be a lack of emphasis on measures that are targeted at socio-economic inequalities. It is argued that there is no substantive basis in the individualized society for perceiving health equity as an independent moral principle and that the driving force behind the professed health equity goal may be in essence utilitarian. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
equity, autonomy, health policy, social class, individualization
in
Social Science and Medicine
volume
46
issue
8
pages
1017 - 1025
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:0031937935
ISSN
1873-5347
DOI
10.1016/S0277-9536(97)10027-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a65325c8-4994-4563-ba29-5b9d25d14154 (old id 8408963)
date added to LUP
2015-12-17 12:07:52
date last changed
2017-01-01 05:10:55
@article{a65325c8-4994-4563-ba29-5b9d25d14154,
  abstract     = {It is widely recognized that there is a discrepancy between principle and practice with respect to the health equity aim of public policy. This discrepancy is analyzed from two theoretical perspectives: the individualization of society and the fact that individual beliefs and values are connected to one’s position in the social structure. These mechanisms influence both the choice of health policy measures and the normative judgements of preventive efforts, both of which tend to be consonant with the views of dominant social groups. In particular, we focus on the treatment of the ethical principle of autonomy and how this is reflected in health policy aimed at influencing health-related behaviour. We examine the current trend towards targeting health information campaigns on certain socio-economic groups and argue that it entails an ethical dilemma. The dominant discourse of the welfare state is contemplated as a means to understand why there tend to be a lack of emphasis on measures that are targeted at socio-economic inequalities. It is argued that there is no substantive basis in the individualized society for perceiving health equity as an independent moral principle and that the driving force behind the professed health equity goal may be in essence utilitarian.},
  author       = {Lindbladh, Eva and Lyttkens, Carl Hampus and Hansson, Bertil S. and Östergren, Per-Olof},
  issn         = {1873-5347},
  keyword      = {equity,autonomy,health policy,social class,individualization},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {1017--1025},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Social Science and Medicine},
  title        = {Equity is out of fashion? An essay on autonomy and health policy in the individualized society},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277-9536(97)10027-2},
  volume       = {46},
  year         = {1998},
}