What do we mean when we talk about rights in relation to health? Where does the language of health rights come from, and what are the implications of using such a discourse?

During the last 20 years there have been an increasing number of initiatives and efforts – for instance in relation to HIV/AIDS – which draw on the language, institutions and procedures of human rights in the field of global health. This book explores the historical, cultural and social context of public health activists’ increasing use of rights discourse and examines the problems it can entail in practice.

Structured around three interlinked themes, this book begins by looking at what health as a right means for our understandings of citizenship and political subjectivities. It then goes on to look at how and why some health problems came to be framed as human rights issues. The final part of the book investigates what happens when health rights are put into practice – how these are implemented, realised, cited, ignored and resisted.

Assembling Health Rights in Global Context provides an in-depth discussion of the historical, anthropological, social and political context of rights in health and develops much needed critical perspectives on the human rights approach to global health. It will be of interest to scholars of public health and human rights within health care as well as sociology and anthropology.

Introduction  David Reubi and Alex Mold  Part 1: Rights, Citizenship and Subjectivities  1. Not Rights but Reciprocal Responsibility: the Rhetoric of State Health Provision in Early Twentieth Century Britain  Jane Seymour  2. Unauthorised Immigrants and the Denial of the Right to Health Care in the United States  Beatrix Hoffman  3. Rights, Responsibility, and Health Services: Human Rights as an Idiomatic Language of Power  Jarrett Zigon  Part 2: Making Health Rights  4. The Political Evolution of Health as a Human Right: Conceptualizing Public Health under International Law, 1940s-1990s  Benjamin Meier  5. Health Right or Human Right? Changing Tides in the International Discussion of Female Genital Mutilation, 1970-2010  Marion Hulverscheidt  6. Constructing Tobacco Control as a Human Rights Issue: Smoking, Lawyers and the Judicialisation of the Right to Health  David Reubi  Part 3: Resistance, Contestation and Translation  7. From Isolation to ‘Living Together’: Human Rights in Japanese HIV/AIDS Discourse  Hannah Waterson  8. Evidence-Based Advocacy and the Retreat From Rights in Safe Motherhood Discourse’  Katerini Storeng and Dominque Béhague  9. State of Exception, Culture of Medical Police: SARS, and the Law of No Rights in the People’s Republic of China  Christos Lynteris