Radical blueprint for social change? Media representations of New Labour's policies on public health

Davidson, R., Hunt, K. and Kitzinger, J. (2003) Radical blueprint for social change? Media representations of New Labour's policies on public health. Sociology of Health and Illness, 25(6), pp. 532-552. (doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.00357)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.00357


For almost two decades prior to the election of the New Labour government in 1997, inequalities in health were largely absent from the political debate in Britain. New Labour sought to bring inequalities, and the role of poverty as a 'root cause' of ill-health, back on to the public agenda. This paper analyses four key documents (Green and White Papers) laying out their proposals for public health. We explore the shifting emphasis on health inequalities between the four official documents, and between the documents and their associated press release. The paper also analyses how this translated into media coverage. It identifies common themes across the press coverage – such as criticisms about lack of targets – but also shows how coverage varied (e.g. between UK 'national' and 'Scottish' press). Finally, the study highlights the crucial issue of political context and news timing, illustrating how the English White Paper was overshadowed by other health stories which formed the basis for attacks on the Labour government in general and the Health Minister in particular.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hunt, Professor Kathryn
Authors: Davidson, R., Hunt, K., and Kitzinger, J.
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
Journal Name:Sociology of Health and Illness

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