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Public Health and the American State

This book explores how public health concerns and political agendas influenced each other in the US over the past century.

Gaetano Di Tommaso, Dario Fazzi, Giles Scott-Smith (eds.)
19 February 2024
Edinburgh University Press

[Text from publisher Edinburgh University Press:]

"This book offers an insightful discussion of the complex relationship between public health, US democracy and power during the so-called American century. It sheds light on the intricate history of the US public health system, examining how the development of the federal government has shaped its trajectory. By exploring the intertwined roles of politics, race and socio-economic factors, the contributors uncover the challenges and contradictions of public health in the US from the Spanish Flu to Covid-19. They also investigate the connections between public health and America's aspirations as a global power, as well as its domestic implications for social cohesion and institutional legitimacy. The focus on the American century provides a critical historical timeframe for an in-depth understanding of the connections between public health, people and power, on both the domestic and global stages.

  • Provides a comparison of the Spanish Flu and Covid-19 pandemics, giving insights into how the US government responded and what has been learned over the past century
  • Covers how responses to disease have stratified society along race, gender, and class lines, furthering inequality instead of improving public health
  • Includes cross-disciplinary studies, ranging from the hisoty of medicine to social history, economics and cultural studies
  • Includes case studies which are based on unique research on specific threats to public health such as polio, diabetes, HIV-AIDS, and Tuberculosis
  • The case studies critically examine the varying governmental and market-based responses to public health crises, and how these have changed and clashed over time."
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