Public health pedagogy and technology as a mode of existence

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Williams, Benjamin
Lee, Jessica
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Leahy, Deana
Fitzpatrick, Katie
Wright, Jan
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Bruno Latour is one of the most influential thinkers of our time. A prolific author, he has produced a large body of work on a diverse array of topics. The ideas presented in these works have been taken up by scholars across a wide range of disciplines. Consequently, Latour has become one of the most frequently cited authors in the contemporary social sciences. Yet, to date, his scholarship has had little impact in health education. In this chapter, we aim to help address this gap. Instead of drawing on Latour’s well-known writing on actor-network theory (Latour, 2005), we use his recent research on modes of existence to study health pedagogies-as-technological beings. We begin by summarising the term, mode of existence, and its associated concepts. Then, we describe the characteristics of the technological mode of existence identified by Latour and the means by which it can be studied. In the penultimate section, we use this vocabulary to explore the development of the public health campaign, Healthier. Happier. This campaign interested us because it took an innovative approach to public health interventions, yet seemed to ignore, omit or overlook potentially useful critical health insights about obesity, m-health and behaviour change. To this end, Latour’s work offered a means of exploring how the campaign came together and considering why these insights did not feature in it. We conclude by reflecting on the value of studying public health pedagogies in this manner.

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Social Theory and Health Education Forging New Insights in Research
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© 2020 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Social Theory and Health Education: Forging New Insights in Research on April 7, 2020, available online:
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Health services and systems
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Williams, B; Lee, J, Public health pedagogy and technology as a mode of existence, Social Theory and Health Education Forging New Insights in Research, 2020, pp. 241-252