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Critical Approaches

  • By: Heather M. Zoller
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Critical approaches to health communication draw attention to issues of power and control among individuals and social groups. This entry describes the theoretical assumptions and goals of critical research and discusses the contributions made by research using a critical lens.

Theoretical Issues

Critical scholars and practitioners examine how power influences society's cultural constructions of health and responses to illness. Starting from the assumption that communication plays a central role in the social construction of reality, critical research examines how systems of meaning privilege the interests of some groups over others. Thus, health communication may construct and reinforce relations of dominance and subordination. Critical research gives attention to issues of inequality, class, and other differences that may be overlooked in other forms of research.

Critical approaches are explicitly ...

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