Book Series: Critical Approaches to Health

A book series produced in association with ISCHP

 TheCritical Approaches to Health series seeks to present critical, inter-disciplinary books that present psychological, social and cultural issues related to health. Each volume in the series takes a critical approach to a particular health issue or topic, and is written to have relevance for students and researchers across the social sciences, and for practitioners. The series is edited by Kerry Chamberlain and Antonia Lyons, and published by Routledge, in association with the International Society for Critical Health Psychology. ISCHP members receive a discount on the purchase price of books in the series.

Click here to read reviews by ISCHP members.


Books published in the series so far:

Disability and Sexual Health: A Critical Exploration of Key Issues By Poul Rohleder, Stine Hellum Braathen and Mark Thomas Carew

Illustrated by research drawn from a range of international contexts, Disability and Sexual Health: A Critical Exploration of Key Issues is the first to examine this important but seldom acknowledged issue. The sexual lives of people with disabilities are rarely discussed. It is as if, because someone has a biological or psychological impairment, they do not exist as a sexual being. As such, many people with disabilities feel marginalised and powerless not only in their day-to-day lives, but also in their ability to form sexual relationships. A range of health issues are raised as a result. Disability and Sexual Health will be important reading for researchers and students in health psychology, critical psychology and the psychology of sexuality, gender, disability and nursing. It will also be of interest to professionals working with people with disabilities in health care and social work.

Postfeminism and Health: Critical Psychology and Media Perspectives By Sarah Riley, Adrienne Evans and Martine Robson

Riley et al final cover

This groundbreaking book employs a transdisciplinary and poststructuralist methodology to develop the concept of ‘postfeminist healthism,’ a twenty-first-century understanding of women’s physical and mental health formed at the intersections of postfeminist sensibilities, neoliberal constructs of citizenship and the notion of health as an individual responsibility managed through consumption.

Postfeminist healthism is used in this book to explore seven topics where postfeminist sensibility has the most impact on women’s health: self-help, weight, surgical technologies, sex, pregnancy, responsibilities for others’ health and pro-anorexia communities. The book explores the ways in which the desire to be normal and live a good life is tied to expectations of ‘normal-perfection’ circulated across interpersonal interactions, media representations and expert discourses. It diagnoses postfeminist healthism as unhealthy for both those women who participate in it and those whom it excludes and considers how more positive directions may emerge.

By exploring the under-researched intersection of postfeminism and health studies, this book will be invaluable to researchers and students in psychology, gender and women’s studies, health research, media studies and sociology.

Healthy Ageing: A Capability Approach to Inclusive Policy and Practice By Christine Stephens and Mary Breheny

Stephens&Breheny

What does it mean to age well? This important new book redefines what ‘successful’ ageing means, challenging the idea that physical health is the only criteria to gauge the ageing process and that an ageing population is necessarily a burden upon society.

Using Sen’s Capability Approach as a theoretical starting point Healthy Ageing: A Capability Approach to Inclusive Policy and Practice outlines a nuanced perspective that transcends the purely biomedical view, recognising ideas of resilience, as well as the experiences of older people themselves in determining what it means to age well. It builds to provide a comprehensive response to the overarching discourse that successful ageing is simply about eating well and exercising, acknowledging not only that older people are not always able to follow such advice, but also that well-being is mediated by factors beyond the physical.

In an era where ageing has become such an important topic for policy makers, this is a robust and timely response that examines what it means to live well as an older person. It will be hugely valuable not only for students of gerontology and social care, but also professionals working in the field.

Urban Poverty and Health Inequalities: A Relational Approach By Darrin Hodgettsand Ottilie Stolte

Hodgetts&Stolte

Urban Poverty and Health Inequalities documents how life has become increasingly insecure and stressful for growing numbers of people due to increased insecurities in employment, income and housing, rising living costs, and the retrenchment of welfare and social services. The book explores the role of history and media depictions of poverty and health inequalities in influencing the current situation. A central objective is to advance ways to understand and respond to urban poverty as a key social determinant of health. The authors pay particular attention to the ways in which punitive responses to urban poverty are further exacerbating the hardships faced by people living in urban poverty.

Looking at issues of class, age, gender, ethnic and disability-based inequalities, the book offers both critical theory and grounded solutions to enable those living in poverty to live healthier lives. The collateral damage resulting from current socio-economic arrangements reflects political choices regarding the distribution of resources in societies that needs to be challenged and changed. The authors attend to initiatives for change, offering practical responses to address urban poverty, including efforts to address wealth distribution, the potential of living wage and Universal Basic Income initiatives, social housing and anti-oppressive welfare systems.

A Critical Approach to Surrogacy: Reproductive Desires and Demands By Damien W Riggs and Clemence Due

Riggs&Due

This comprehensive text makes an important contribution to the study of surrogacy, developing a novel theoretical framework through which to understand the broader social contexts as well as individual decisions at play within surrogacy arrangements. Drawing on empirical research conducted by the authors and supplemented by secondary analyses of media, legislative and public accounts of surrogacy, the book engages with the key stakeholders involved in the practice of surrogacy. Specifically, it canvases the standpoints of women who act as surrogates, intending parents who commission surrogacy arrangements, children born through surrogacy, clinics that facilitate the arrangements, and politicians and journalists who engage with the topic.

Through a focus on capitalism as a means of orientating ourselves to the topic of surrogacy, the book highlights the vulnerabilities that potentially arise in the context of surrogacy, as well as the claims to agency invoked by some parties in order to mitigate vulnerability. In so doing, the book demonstrates that the psychology of surrogacy must be broadly understood as an orientation to particular ways of thinking about children, reproduction and economies of labour.

Digital Health: Critical and Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives By Deborah Lupton

Lupton

The rise of digital health technologies is, for some, a panacea to many of the medical and public health challenges we face today. This is the first book to articulate a critical response to the techno-utopian and entrepreneurial vision of the digital health phenomenon. Deborah Lupton, internationally renowned for her scholarship on the sociocultural and political aspects of medicine and health as well as digital technologies, addresses a range of compelling issues about the interests digital health represents, and its unintended effects on patients, doctors and how we conceive of public health and healthcare delivery.

Bringing together social and cultural theory with empirical research, the book challenges apolitical approaches to examine the impact new technologies have on social justice, and the implication for social and economic inequalities. Lupton considers how self-tracking devices change the patient-doctor relationship, and how the digitisation and gamification of healthcare through apps and other software affects the way we perceive and respond to our bodies. She asks which commercial interests enable different groups to communicate more widely, and how the personal data generated from digital encounters are exploited. Considering the lived experience of digital health technologies, including their emotional and sensory dimensions, the book also assesses their broader impact on medical and public health knowledges, power relations and work practices.

Relevant to students and researchers interested in medicine and public health across sociology, psychology, anthropology, new media and cultural studies, as well as policy makers and professionals in the field, this is a timely contribution on an important issue. 

Constructing Pain: Historical, psychological and critical perspectives By Robert Kugelmann

Everyone experiences pain, whether it’s emotional or physical, chronic or acute. Pain is part of what it means to be human, and so an understanding of how we relate to it as individuals – as well as cultures and societies – is fundamental to who we are. 

In this important new book, the first in Routledge’s new Critical Approaches to Health series, Robert Kugelmann provides an accessible and insightful overview of how the concept of pain has been understood historically, psychologically, and anthropologically. Charting changes in how, after the development of modern painkillers, pain became a problem that could be solved, the book articulates how the possibilities for living with pain have changed over the last two hundred years.

Incorporating research conducted by the author himself, the book provides both a holistic conception of pain and an understanding of what it means to people experiencing it today. Including critical reflections in each chapter, Constructing Pain offers a comprehensive and enlightening treatment of an important issue to us all and will be fascinating reading for students and researchers within health psychology, healthcare, and nursing.