Realizing social justice has always been a prominent concern of public health. From the initial founding of public health as a discipline, profession, and movement in the mid-19th century, different dimensions of the causes and societal distribution of disease, premature death, and longevity (“health inequalities”) have been understood as directly reflecting the way a society is organized and functioning. Appropriately responding to the different dimensions of health inequalities naturally leads to thinking about how a society should be organized or function—to develop a conception of a just or good society. However, the descriptive aspects of public health, the normative reasoning about social justice as well as the links between the two have been deeply contested from the beginning. The vibrant and often acrimonious public discussions in many countries and in various academic disciplines on the topic of health inequalities and social justice reflect our rapidly changing understanding of the causes and distribution of human diseases and health, scientific advances, and the social, political, and economic inequalities and transformations occurring in the world. The debates also reflect philosophical disagreements about what constitutes a good and just (global) society. Two phenomena are worth noting for their profound impact on current discussions on health and social justice. First, the initial decade of the 21st century saw the solidification and wider recognition of a corpus of epidemiological studies on the social determinants of health. This research is transforming our explanatory paradigm of disease and mortality, which previously had been focused largely on individual level factors such as genetics, individual behaviors, and proximate exposures to harmful agents. Social epidemiology expands the causal chain in time and space to include factors such as family and work environments, neighborhood, national economic and political systems, and global processes. The second phenomenon is that of globalization. Alongside the intensification of social, political, and economic interconnectedness of societies is the increased magnitude and movement of new and resurgent causes of disease and mortality—and, possibly, health and longevity—across national borders. Our knowledge of the social and global factors impacting health is rapidly expanding, and our ethical and political discussions on what the social responses should be are also quickly evolving. Despite the literature being vast, the following article reflects the fact that most of the literature has largely been produced in developed countries and in the Anglo-American philosophical traditions. The literature will likely evolve in the future to reflect both geographical and philosophical diversity.
These journals cover a range of disciplines including bioethics, political philosophy, and health policy where scholarly discussions of social justice in the domain of public health are presented. All of these journals publish state-of-the-art scholarship that is peer reviewed. Public Health Ethics frequently publishes articles on various aspects of social and global justice related to health issues. Other journals that largely focus on traditional bioethics issues such as Bioethics, American Journal of Bioethics, and Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics have also begun publishing articles related to public and global health. The Hastings Center Report is unique as it usually publishes a few long articles considered to be of important and current relevance. Some journals are more explicitly international in scope. Developing World Bioethics was created to present bioethics issues that are specific to resource poor countries and non-Western traditions of ethics. Health & Human Rights was the first journal established to bring together health issues and human rights law, practice, and philosophy. While the Lancet is mainly a journal of medical research, various dimensions of public and global health policies and needs are prominently discussed in editorials, special issues and reports, commentaries, and articles.
American Journal of Bioethics. 2001–.
A highly ranked scholarly journal that publishes some of the latest scholarship in health ethics.
A prominent bioethics journal that often has a theme per issue.
A high-quality bioethics journal that publishes articles that are strongly philosophical.
Developing World Bioethics. 2001–.
A bioethics journal that presents issues and perspectives that reflect non-Western and non-industrialized societies.
Hastings Center Report. 1971–.
A well regarded publication that often presents one or two substantive articles on topics that are seen to be subject defining.
Health & Human Rights. 1994–.
The first scholarly journal devoted to bringing together both concerns for improving health and realizing human rights. The first few issues are valuable for their subject and field defining articles.
The Lancet. 1823–.
The journal has been at the forefront of public and global health policy announcements, discussions and debates. Concerns for equity and justice are prominent in addition to presenting high-quality medical and health policy research.
Public Health Ethics. 2008–.
A valuable resource that presents the latest scholarship on the ethics of different dimensions of public/global health issues.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email email@example.com to express your interest.
- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Tuberculosis among Adults and the Determinants of Health
- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Worksite Health Promotion