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Reducing health inequalities remains a challenge for policy makers across the world. Beginning from Lewin’s famous dictum that “there is nothing as practical as a good theory”, this paper begins from an appreciative discussion of ‘fundamental cause theory’, emphasizing the elegance of its theoretical encapsulation of the challenge, the relevance of its critical focus for action, and its potential to support the practical mobilisation of knowledge in generating change. Moreover, it is argued that recent developments in the theory, provide an opportunity for further theoretical development focused more clearly on the concept of power (Dickie et al. 2015). A critical focus on power as the essential element in maintaining, increasing or reducing social and economic inequalities – including health inequalities – can both enhance the coherence of the theory, and also enhance the capacity to challenge the roots of health inequalities at different levels and scales. This paper provides an initial contribution by proposing a framework to help to identify the most important sources, forms and positions of power, as well as the social spaces in which they operate. Subsequent work could usefully test, elaborate and adapt this framework, or indeed ultimately replace it with something better, to help focus actions to reduce inequalities.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Sociology of Health & Illness|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2021|
- fundamental causes
- health inequalities
FingerprintDive into the research topics of 'Health inequalities, fundamental causes and power: Towards the practice of good theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
- 1 Active
The University of the West of Scotland-Oxfam Partnership - 'for a more equitable and sustainable Scotland'.
Collins, C., Stuart, F., Livingstone, J. & Pautz, H.
4/07/11 → …
The health impacts of changes in individual or household income: A systematic reviewYagnik, A., McCartney, G., Robinson, M., Hearty, W., Armour, G. & Collins, C., 8 Aug 2018, 17 p. SSRN : Elsevier Inc.
Research output: Other contribution
Working-class discourses of politics, policy and health: 'I don’t smoke; I don’t drink. The only thing wrong with me is my health’Mackenzie, M., Collins, C., Connolly, J., McCartney, G. & Doyle, M., 1 Apr 2017, In: Policy and Politics. 45, 2, p. 231-249 19 p., 1.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review20 Citations (Scopus)
How politics and power create poor health: ‘I think they’re trying to kill folk aff’Mackenzie, M., Collins, C., Connolly, J., McCartney, G. & Doyle, M., 5 Apr 2016, Social Research Publications.
Research output: Other contributionOpen Access
- 1 Oral presentation
Health and Health Inequalities in Scotland: Explaining Glasgow’s ‘excess mortality'
Chik Collins (Invited speaker)28 Feb 2019
Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation
More progress needed to ensure Scotland embraces sustainability
Chik Collins & Hartwig Pautz
1 item of Media coverage
Herald follow-up article on research on health in two Ayrshire communities
1 item of Media coverage
Herald report on health in two Ayrshire communities: "Report says deprivation has driven decades of failure for health promotion campaigns".
Chik Collins & Mhairi Mackenzie
1 Media contribution