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THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF PUBLIC HEALTH
MELISSA PARKER a1andIAN HARPER a2 a1 International Medical Anthropology Programme, Brunel University a2 School of Social and Political Studies, Edinburgh University
Science regularly publishes papers addressing the social and cultural aspects of disease, sickness and well-being. Most of these papers attempt to understand the prevalence and distribution of disease and sickness within and between populations as well as local responses to biomedical interventions and public health policy more generally. They fall broadly within the remit of human ecology; and they embrace a ‘factorial’ model of disease in which social and cultural factors are deemed to be just one of a number of factors to be considered alongside a range of other factors. These include biological features of the infecting organism; nutritional factors; environmental factors; psychological factors; and genetic factors influencing susceptibility to disease at an individual and population level.