Events Calendar

Health Justice Extended: Freedom from Aging

Thursday, November 14, 2019
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
FIMS and Nursing Building (FNB)
Room: 4110

Talk by Alex Mayhew
Responses by Zak Bronson and Kelsang Legden

One of the critical insights Sridhar Venkatapuram articulated in his 2011 work Health Justice was that “to be healthy is a kind of freedom. To be free of impairment and pain.” He argues that our health expectations are socially constructed and have changed from time and place, but have systematically come under human control. Major health failures are no longer the result of random luck, such as a drought leading to famine or a new plague arriving from a distant land. Instead, today, major health failures are largely the result of social policy.

In Health and Social Justice, Prah Ruger states that “justice demands that society should ensure that individuals are capable of avoiding premature death and escapable morbidity.” But what counts as “premature” death? Both Venkatapuram and Prah Ruger avoid the topic of aging, scarcely mentioning the word. What happens when we turn the Health Justice lens to aging?

By extending the idea of Health Justice we can see the involuntary deterioration of health and end of life as a social justice issue. Aging is already heavily influenced by human choices and social policies. This is most notable in our increasing longevity. This human control is only going to increase. While conditions make it so that achieving complete social justice and perpetual health is likely impossible, the pursuit is a worthy goal.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
FIMS Communications

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