Accepted Paper:

Technologies of evidence and participation and the making of publics. Comparing two health promotion practices  


Klasien Horstman (Maastricht University)

Paper short abstract:

In this presentation I will explore the making of publics in public health, by comparatively analyzing an evidence based - and a community health promotion practice as articulations of different epistemic and accountability cultures.

Paper long abstract:

Since 1990's, following developments in medicine, public health demonstrates a trend to make public health evidence based. Statistical evidence, produced in a RCT, is considered a means to enable distinguishing between (cost) effective and ineffective interventions, and as an instrument to publicly account for public health policies and programmes. Despite critical discussions of this ideal, in public health this ideal is still very vital. In this presentation I will - based on ethnographic research - analyze two Dutch regional health promotion practices: an evidence based project to reduce coronary heart disease and a community based project to stimulate healthy living. I will show how these projects embody, articulate and construct different epistemic and accountability cultures, and different front and back offices. Based on the analysis I will discuss how these health promotion practices (un)make different publics and different relationships between policymakers, experts and citizens.

Panel T137
From person to population and back: exploring accountability in public health