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Health geographies I: complexity theory and human health

Curtis, S.; Riva, M.


M. Riva


This paper is the first of two linked progress reports on the application of ideas from complexity theory to health geography. In this paper we focus especially on research which seeks to explain variations in human health from a geographical perspective. We mainly discuss selected studies of geographies of human health which illustrate how ideas from complexity theory are applied empirically. In order to interpret more effectively the dynamic and recursive networks of relationships anticipated by complexity theory, future research will be required to go further in breaking down the divisions that are often assumed between research using different types of empirical methods. We comment on the potential to do this by means of advanced approaches to statistical and spatial modelling and by giving greater attention to the complementarity between these methods and qualitative techniques. We also discuss the emphasis in these examples on research which adopts an interdisciplinary strategy. Our conclusions refer forward to our companion report, which focuses more on studies of geographies of health care and health policy, emphasizing that complexity theory applied to health systems underlines the connections between health, health care and health policy.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2010
Deposit Date Jan 6, 2010
Journal Progress in Human Geography
Print ISSN 0309-1325
Electronic ISSN 1477-0288
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 2
Pages 215-223
Keywords Complexity, Health, Health geography, Inequality, Methods.
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