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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart collection of essays
The fifteen thought-provoking essays in Against Health treat topics ranging from the seductive but dangerous promise of race-based drug development to the impact of potential nuclear annihilation on American concepts of "health." Two chapters survey the invention of particular diagnostic categories (passive-aggressive personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive...
Published on July 25, 2011 by Kecia Ali

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anti-scientific compilation misses the mark
Rather than a fact-based critical appraisal of the use and misuse of health, this collection is riddled with anti-scientific rants and anecdotes masquerading as faux-intellectualism.

Perhaps the worst chapter, "Against Global Health" takes an inexplicable stance against the "empirical tyranny" of properly powered studies and statistically valid results in the...
Published 17 months ago by Snow


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart collection of essays, July 25, 2011
This review is from: Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality (Biopolitics, Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the 21st Century) (Paperback)
The fifteen thought-provoking essays in Against Health treat topics ranging from the seductive but dangerous promise of race-based drug development to the impact of potential nuclear annihilation on American concepts of "health." Two chapters survey the invention of particular diagnostic categories (passive-aggressive personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder) and another reveals how pervasive drug company involvement in academic research on diseases and their treatment is. One consistent theme is the ways in which individual responsibility for "healthy" (read: morally good) behavior increasingly obscures larger patterns by which social inequalities in access to good food, medical care, and recreation are created and sustained. (For instance, people "run for a cure" and celebrate cancer survivorship but do not organize against widespread carcinogenic environmental contaminants.) Though some of what emerges is scary, the book is not fear-mongering. The essays are relatively short but based on serious research and careful analysis. They also build on each other and play off each other in interesting ways. Accessibly and clearly written, without a great deal of jargon, this book will forever alter the way one thinks about the rhetoric and reality of health.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anti-scientific compilation misses the mark, April 10, 2013
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This review is from: Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality (Biopolitics, Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the 21st Century) (Paperback)
Rather than a fact-based critical appraisal of the use and misuse of health, this collection is riddled with anti-scientific rants and anecdotes masquerading as faux-intellectualism.

Perhaps the worst chapter, "Against Global Health" takes an inexplicable stance against the "empirical tyranny" of properly powered studies and statistically valid results in the field of global health. Another offender, "Against Breastfeeding (Sometimes)", nonchalantly dismisses the entire robust literature supporting the benefits of breastfeeding as "weak" and "contradictory" while later citing "expensive research" as proof for her pet theories. There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of epidemiological and biostatistical techniques by these sociologists.

Some chapters were worth a read, such as "The Social Immorality of Health in the Gene Age" and "Pharmaceutical Propaganda" which did problematize our modern conception of health as morality. However, these few oases can not save the overwhelming disregard for basing critical analysis on reality.
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