Culture and rural health
Article first published online: 23 SEP 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Australian Journal of Rural Health © National Rural Health Alliance Inc.
Australian Journal of Rural Health
Volume 20, Issue 5, pages 243–247, October 2012
How to Cite
Farmer, J., Bourke, L., Taylor, J., Marley, J. V., Reid, J., Bracksley, S. and Johnson, N. (2012), Culture and rural health. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 20: 243–247. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1584.2012.01304.x
- Issue published online: 23 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 23 SEP 2012
- Accepted for publication 30 July 2012.
- health policy;
- health status;
- health system;
- public health;
- rural sociology
This paper considers the role of culture in rural health, suggesting that the concept and its impacts are insufficiently understood and studied. It reviews some of the ways that culture has been considered in (rural) health, and states that culture is either used ambiguously and broadly – for example, suggesting that there is a rural culture, or narrowly – indeed perhaps interchangeably with ethnicity, for example Aboriginal culture as a unity. The paper notes that, although culture is a dynamic social concept, it has been adopted into a biomedical research paradigm as though it is fixed. Culture is often treated as though it is something that can be addressed simplistically, for example, through cultural sensitivity education. Authors suggest that culture is an unaddressed ‘elephant in the room’ in rural health, and that exploring cultural differences and beliefs and facing up to cultural differences are vital in understanding and addressing rural health and health system challenges.