BMA Medical Book Awards: Commendation for Coggon!

In 2013, Gratuitous self-promotion, Public Ethics, Publications on September 23, 2013 at 7:52 am

On Tuesday 17th September 2013 the BMA Medical Book Awards were hosted in the Great Hall of the BMA. John Coggon’s book ‘What makes health public?’ was highly commended in the Health and Social Care category.

Cover   What Makes Health Public? 
The book is a critical monograph on public health and philosophy. It also works as a foundational resource for people working in or studying public health ethics. It is presented in three parts: Part I examines core concepts in public health, explaining what is meant, respectively, by ‘health’, ‘public’ and ‘the public’, ‘public health’, ‘public health policy’, and ‘public health law and ethics’. Part II explains why public health law and ethics require understanding of political philosophy, and demonstrates how political theory applies to health ethics and policy. Part III offers a presentation and defence of the author’s preferred political morality, explaining how the theory is developed and its implications for evaluations of potential and existing public health policy. It demands a reconceptualisation of mainstream bioethics, and reframes ethical analysis so that it can apply to contemporary problems in health policy and practice. Its objectives are both theoretical and practical. Public health ethics is a relatively new, and rapidly growing, area of study. As a practical, policy concern, it is also receiving much greater attention than has historically been the case. The book bridges gaps between literatures from a great range of sources, and brings together a wide span of discourses from policy, public and professional ethics, practice, and different academic disciplines. Its originality and importance come in its detailed, comprehensive analysis and definition of a new field of study, and its arguments for how the study of public health ethics is best undertaken. The book’s depth, breadth, and relevance make it stand out as an original contribution that will be of enduring relevance.

“The book’s chief strength is placing public health interventions, which are often seen as un- or a-political, firmly within a normative liberal framework, thereby exposing the value-loaded claims of a discipline that often sees itself as neutral or non-normatively scientific. The book makes a significant contribution to reflection on the normative basis of public health interventions. Nobody working in this field — the ethics and politics of public health interventions — can afford not to be familiar with it. It is excellent.”

The programme and list of awards winners can be read here.


Caroline Jones (John is far too modest to write this himself!).

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