Cultural Reflexivity in Health Research and Practice

In the American Journal of Public Health, Robert Aronowitz and colleagues, including Jason Schnittker, argue that public health movements invoking cultural change to improve health and reduce health disparities have sometimes justified and maintained health inequalities. They argue that this happens when those with power and authority designate their own social practices as legitimate and healthy while labeling the practices of marginalized groups as illegitimate or unhealthy. This “misrecognition,” which creates seemingly objective knowledge without understanding historical and social conditions, sustains unequal power dynamics and obscures the fact that what is deemed legitimate and healthy can be temporally, geographically, and socially relative.