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Philosophy, culture and health

Health has come to play a central role in our understanding of life. For the average Swede, health is more important than financial justice, self-realisation or belief in God. But what is health when it involves more than just the absence of disease and instead becomes a matter of subjective wellbeing and quality of life? Within the department-wide research area of philosophy, culture and health, we aim to broaden the concepts of religion and culture. We also intend to discuss and investigate the way in which the structures that form and control people’s conceptions of how the body, health and disease can be related to the individual’s existential conditions. In this way, we contribute towards – and are involved in – establishing the internationally expanding research field of medical humanities.

The relationship between philosophy, culture and health is studied within all the department’s subject areas, and our researchers examine questions such as: What views of "the good life" and the welfare society are found in chick lit, detective novels and other literary genres? Who decides what is healthy and wholesome in our multicultural society? How does the New Age Movement influence our view of health? Is it healthy to laugh at religion, read fiction or write about our lives?

Current research within the department links to the University of Gothenburg’s profile area of culture and health, and takes place within the Religion, Culture and Health research programme, among others. Here, the concept of health is investigated on the basis of three different themes: Fiction, play and health are concentrated around the significance of narrative and fiction in connection with basic moral values and conceptions of happiness, success and wellbeing. The state, religion and health are concentrated around tensions within a multicultural society and the challenges faced by the state and authorities in an attempt to both satisfy cultural and religious rights and also ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life. Existence, therapy and health are concentrated around how different treatments and therapies construct and maintain collective and individual conceptions about health and disease.

Page Manager: Elin Widfeldt|Last update: 2/12/2013

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