Navigating Between Stealth Advocacy and Unconscious Dogmatism: The Challenge of Researching the Norms, Politics and Power of Global Health

Document Type: Perspective

Author

1 Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

2 Law and Development Research Group, Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Abstract

Global health research is essentially a normative undertaking: we use it to propose policies that ought to be implemented. To arrive at a normative conclusion in a logical way requires at least one normative premise, one that cannot be derived from empirical evidence alone. But there is no widely accepted normative premise for global health, and the actors with the power to set policies may use a different normative premise than the scholars that propose policies – which may explain the ‘implementation gap’ in global health. If global health scholars shy away from the normative debate – because it requires normative premises that cannot be derived from empirical evidence alone – they not only mislead each other, they also prevent and stymie debate on the role of the powerhouses of global health, their normative premises, and the rights and wrongs of these premises. The humanities and social sciences are better equipped – and less reluctant – to approach the normative debate in a scientifically valid manner, and ought to be better integrated in the interdisciplinary research that global health research is, or should be.

Highlights

Commentaries Published on this Paper

  • Politics and Power in Global Health: The Constituting Role of Conflicts; Comment on “Navigating Between Stealth Advocacy and Unconscious Dogmatism: The Challenge of Researching the Norms, Politics and Power of Global Health”

          Abstract | PDF

  • Global Health Warning: Definitions Wield Power; Comment on “Navigating Between Stealth Advocacy and Unconscious Dogmatism: The Challenge of Researching the Norms, Politics and Power of Global Health”

          Abstract | PDF

  • Advancing Global Health – The Need for (Better) Social Science; Comment on “Navigating Between Stealth Advocacy and Unconscious Dogmatism: The Challenge of Researching the Norms, Politics and Power of Global Health”

          Abstract | PDF

  • The Ghost Is the Machine: How Can We Visibilize the Unseen Norms and Power of Global Health?; Comment on “Navigating Between Stealth Advocacy and Unconscious Dogmatism: The Challenge of Researching the Norms, Politics and Power of Global Health”

          Abstract | PDF

  • Politics or Technocracy – What Next for Global Health?; Comment on “Navigating Between Stealth Advocacy and Unconscious Dogmatism: The Challenge of Researching the Norms, Politics and Power of Global Health”

          Abstract | PDF

 

Author’s Response to the Commentaries

  • Of Politicians and Technocrats, and Why Global Health Scholars Are Inevitably a Bit of Both: A Response to Recent Commentaries

          Abstract | PDF

Keywords

Main Subjects


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