Governing How We Care

Contesting Community and Defining Difference in U.S. Public Health Programs

Susan J Shaw
Book Cover

PB: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0683-5
Publication: Mar 12

HC: $86.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-0682-8
Publication: Mar 12

Ebook: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0684-2
Publication: Mar 12

226 pages
6 x 9
3 figs., 5 halftones

An analysis of local struggles over community health as a window into governance, citizenship, and identity formation.


As local governments and organizations assume more responsibility for ensuring the public health, identity politics play an increasing yet largely unexamined role in public and policy attitudes toward local problems. In Governing How We Care, medical anthropologist Susan J. Shaw examines the relationship between government and citizens, using case studies of needle exchange and Welfare-to-Work programs to illustrate the meanings of cultural difference, ethnicity, and inequality in health care. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted over six years in a small New England city, Shaw presents critical perspectives on public health intervention efforts in the urban United States. She looks at online developments in health care and highlights the new concepts of community and forms of identity that emerge in our efforts to provide effective health care to diverse populations. Governing How We Care shows how community health programs both respond to and propel the citizenship claims of marginalized groups in an age of neoliberalism.

Table of Contents


1 The Governmentality of Community Health

Part I Technologies of Citizenship and Difference
2 Community Health Advocates: The Professionalization of “Like Helping Like”
3 Neoliberalism at Work: Contemporary Scenarios of Governmental Reforms in Public Health and Social Work
4 Technologies of Culturally Appropriate Health Care

Part II Technologies of Prevention and Boundaries of Citizenship: Drug Use, Research, and Public Health
5 “I Always Use Bleach”: The Production and Circulation of Risk and Norms in Drug Research
6 Syringe Exchange as a Practice of Governing


About the Author(s)

Susan J. Shaw is an Associate Professor of Community Health Education in the Department of Health Promotion and Policy at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.