In this lesson-packed book, Mark Nichter, one of the world's leading medical anthropologists, summarizes what more than a quarter-century of health social science research has contributed to
international health and elucidates what social science research can contribute to global health and the study of biopolitics in the future.
Nichter has written an accessible text that is both critical and constructive, an inspiration as well as a lesson plan. It should be required reading for anyone considering the relevance of social science in global health.
Nichter focuses on our cultural understanding of
infectious and vector-borne diseases, how they are understood locally, and how various populations respond to public health interventions. The book examines the perceptions of three groups whose
points of view on illness, health care, and the politics of responsibility often differ and frequently conflict: local populations living in developing countries, public health practitioners working
in international health, and health planners/policy makers. The book is written for both health social scientists working in the fields of international health and development and public health
practitioners interested in learning practical lessons they can put to good use when engaging communities in participatory problem solving.
Global Health critically examines
representations that frame international health discourse. It also addresses the politics of what is possible in a world compelled to work together to face emerging and re-emerging diseases, the
control of health threats associated with political ecology and defective modernization, and the rise of new assemblages of people who share a sense of biosociality. The book proposes research
priorities for a new program of health social science research. Nichter calls for greater involvement by social scientists in studies of global health and emphasizes how medical anthropologists in
particular can better involve themselves as scholar activists.