Principal Investigator: Michael Gideon Marmot. Lead Organisation: University College London
Co-investigator: Sridhar Venkatapuram
This inter-disciplinary project is carrying out conceptual groundwork towards constructing a theory of health causation and distribution that spans poor and rich countries as well as one that can account for biology, individual behaviour, material agents, and social conditions. Such a “unified” theory should have explanatory power across the entire human species as well as defensible prescriptive power to guide ethical social responses to health inequalities within and across societies. In striving for such a theory, this research aims to integrate existing methodology and research findings on social determinants of health inequalities with the empirically grounded theory of social justice and development called the Capabilities Approach. A focus on health capability is a markedly new approach to understanding and addressing health inequalities in comparison to contain and control, minimum healthcare package, or cost-effective approaches dominant in poor countries. The three main research areas examine the philosophy of social epidemiology, conceptualizing human health as a capability, and integrating social determinants research and capabilities theory.