Globality and Constructions of World Health



Explorations of the social construction of health and illness reveal that popular and professional discourses on health and disease implicitly contain underlying images of how societies can or should be structured. Globality, which is a notion that refers to the consciousness of the world as a single place, suggests that these images of world structure are now salient. This article describes four current discourses of "world health" and discusses them in terms of their underlying ideal images of world order. The four images of the world are defined in terms of four elemental points of reference: individuals, societies, the system of societies, and humankind. These ideal images have either a gemeinschaft (community) or gesellschaft (society) orientation. An anthropology of globality can refine and extend our understandings of discourses of world health. Sensitivity to these discourses and their world-oriented ideological roots should help to demystify the notion of world health. [world health, globality, global culture]