Assumptions about culture in discourse on ethnic minority health

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    This paper takes a specific interest in the way the concept of culture is deployed in documents aimed at investigating, informing on and promoting aspects of ethnic minority health. Within a health-political discourse focusing increasingly on individual lifestyles, ethnic minority health became subject to increased political and professional interest in the last decades of the 20th and the first decade of the 21st century. Analysis of the discourse on ethnic minority health emerging in five texts addressing health professionals shows that the culture of ethnic minority citizens is primarily seen as contributing to low levels of knowledge about health and to adverse health behavior. Thus, the texts present cultural beliefs and practices as contributing to the high prevalence of lifestyle diseases among ethnic minority population groups. The analysis, however, demonstrates that a more nuanced discourse is evolving, taking the complexity of the culture concept into account. In accordance with Danish health-political priorities, the most recent text analyzed in this study promotes an individualistic approach to both ethnic minority and Danish ethnic majority citizens.
    TidsskriftCommunication & Medicine - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Healthcare, Ethics and Society
    Udgave nummer2
    Sider (fra-til)141-151
    StatusUdgivet - 2014


    • health disparities, ethnic minority patients, culture discourse, health professionals


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