Human health is shaped by the interactions between social and ecological systems. In States of Disease, Brian King advances a social ecology of health framework to demonstrate how historical spatial formations contribute to contemporary vulnerabilities to disease and the opportunities for health justice. He examines how expanded access to antiretroviral therapy is transforming managed HIV in South Africa. And he reveals how environmental health is shifting due to global climate change and flooding variability in northern Botswana. These case studies illustrate how the political environmental context shapes the ways in which health is embodied, experienced, and managed.
Brian King is Associate Professor of Geography at The Pennsylvania State University.
“States of Disease is a major contribution to the study of the political ecology of health. Drawing upon long-term research from Southern Africa, King shows how human health is produced through complex social, political, and economic systems. The standard medical model too often limits our view, so we fail to draw the connections that could produce healthier social relations. A crucial intervention.”—Joel Wainwright, author of Decolonizing Development: Colonial Power and the Maya
“Social scientists have increasingly applied new analytical approaches to the study of health—yet the discipline of geography has largely been on the sidelines. States of Disease sharpens the cutting-edge tools of political ecology to argue persuasively that ecological conditions are integral to the politics and spatiality of disease and wellness. In contributing to multilayered understandings of HIV/AIDS, the book challenges dominant biomedical approaches.”—Mark Hunter, author of Love in the Time of AIDS: Inequality, Gender, and Rights in South Africa
“Where is disease located? So much of our current thinking is dominated by a biomedical model that locates disease within individual bodies. In States of Disease, Brian King demonstrates the fundamental shortcomings of this view, countering with a nuanced interdisciplinary account of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, placing it within a larger social and political landscape of health.”—Barbara Entwisle, Kenan Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“In States of Disease, Brian King compellingly demonstrates that challenges like HIV/AIDS and malaria are structurally driven, spatially complex, ecologically networked, and systemically unequal health problems, but ones that have mistakenly been treated in strictly biomedical and individual terms, time and again. States of Disease traces complex political ecologies that exact a terrible human toll when they're ignored. Such enormous suffering makes this milestone work of research all the more urgent.”—Paul Robbins, Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies