The global institutionalization of health as a social concern: Organizational and discursive trends

Keiko Inoue*, Gili S. Drori

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing from sociological neoinstitutionalism, this article considers the emergence and evolution of the global health system. Tracing the dates of the founding of health-related international organizations shows a clear pattern of institutionalization over time. First, the article shows a clear trend of organizational structuration and expansion: with the oldest health-related international organizations tracing their origins to the 17th century, the global organizational field today includes some 2600 health-related organizations. Second, the field has clearly changed over time in the framing of health as a social concern: delineating the goals and aims of these health-related international organizations, the article reveals four general approaches to international health (as an act of charity, as a professional activity, as a means for development and as a basic human right) and a historic thematic shift from charity to human rights-based notions of health between 1650 and 1997. Such shifts are theorized within the framework of the neoinstitutional perspective.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)199-219
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Sociology
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Globalization
  • Health
  • International organizations
  • Neoinstitutional theory

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