The Environment and Health: An Alternative Perspective
Australian Journal of Primary Health
4(2) 20 - 31
A theoretical approach which may be used to increase understanding of the dynamics of environmental and health policy is outlined. The approach deals with conceptualisations or 'ways of knowing', and, as such, tends to raise questions for debate, rather than advance policy solutions. First, it considers ways in which people have thought about and 'known' the world around them and traces how this has been important in shaping our attitudes and values in relation to it, especially in influencing environmental and health policy. Three aspects are considered: the legacy of Enlightenment and Romantic philosophical frameworks, the significance of underlying contradictory assumptions within these frameworks, and some of the implications of this for public policy. Second, it advances a specific theoretical approach ? the dialectic ? as a means of exploring the relationship between ways of thought and providing insight into the complex dynamics of policy making. It looks briefly at the example of sewage disposal policy before arguing that a dialectic approach may be applied to a range of environmental and health policy situations.
Full text doi:10.1071/PY98017
© La Trobe University 1998