Socioanthropological notes on community and health

The notion of community utilized by planners and healthcare providers is doubly deceptive. On the one hand, it presupposes apparent equality and absence of conflicts between people in the same population group. On the other hand, it supposes a certain possibility of intervention by healthcare services in relation to behavioral patterns that are considered undesirable, from the point of view of disease control or health promotion. Used this way, this concept ends up concealing the "social nature" of the target population: poor people and the setbacks that their condition of poverty causes. To bring to light the problem of the euphemism implicit in this notion of community, the objective of the present article was to present Simmel's radically relational approach for characterizing the subordination of these population groups to healthcare policies and programs. For this purpose, the starting point was the appropriation of the sociological notion of community by the healthcare services, from Tönnies' classic formulation and its influence on the authors of the Chicago school.

Social development; Social inequity; Health inequity; Health services; Health promotion


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