In this course you have been introduced to a diverse range of ideas about health. To recap, the themes and ideas you have met in this course are:
The diversity of accounts of health. An important theme of this course is that there is a great diversity in what people mean when they talk of health; sometimes these meanings conflict and sometimes they can coexist but health is a creative and multifaceted concept.
The importance of ‘lay’ accounts of health. A central concern has been to highlight the importance of ‘lay’ accounts and to acknowledge the significance of personal experience. We have also been keen not to draw too rigid a boundary between ‘lay’ and ‘expert’ accounts but to acknowledge that the boundaries can be blurred.
Inequalities in health. We have only touched on the important issue of inequalities in health in this course. We have suggested in this course that people's visions of health are to some extent influenced by their socio-economic status and we have raised the issue that the conditions of people's lives in terms of housing or employment affect their health chances. Here the issue has been raised in terms also of where responsibility for health and illness lies.
The need to maintain a positive (salutogenic) view of health. Our vision of health is of more than the absence of disease and we have suggested that we should strive for a positive view of health which does not deny the realities of chronic illness and disease but tries to achieve positive health in spite of chronic illness and disease.