The Worlds of Public Health: Anthropological Excursions

After public health erupted into the world’s consciousness in early 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, gave a series of lectures at the Collège de France in Paris proposing a new analysis of the moral and political issues at stake in the practice of public health. 

The lectures have been published in a book, titled The Worlds of Public Health: Anthropological Excursions, which considers the influence of positivism, the boundaries of disease, conspiracy theories, morality tests, and the challenges posed by the health of migrants and prisoners. It was published in August 2023 by Polity Press.

Described as "a much-needed compass for our imperiled present," the publication presents a series of globally diverse case studies which transport the reader from South Africa to Ecuador, Latin America to France, and the United States to Kenya. Through these poignant vignettes, Fassin argues that, ultimately, public health is a politics of life, revealing the different and unequal ways in which life is valued—and either protected or not—in contemporary societies.

Read more at Polity Press.