I study American politics through the lens of health. My dissertation deals on the nature, historical origins and policy consequences of health politics in America. I argue that the disease should be conceptualized as a core political value, which alongside capitalism and democracy, has served as an engine of American political development. Using surveys from 65 nations and over 25 years of American public opinion data, I show that, unlike most other rich democracies, a great majority of Americans hold an unusual attachment to a specific view of health creation that places great focus on diseases rather than health systems. And, although this value crystalized in America at about the same time as capitalism and democracy, I argue that this value exerts a gravity of its own in American politics – prescribing the boundaries of the possible in health and non-health policy-making. To demonstrate this idea’s force, I show how the disease is as a source of agreement and division within the elite stratum of modern American politics on matters of health, by examining all federal public laws passed since 1946 and a set of surveys of public health departments in the 50 American states.
Quotes I Like:
"Fellow-citizens, the ark of your covenant is the Declaration of Independence. Your Mount Ebal, is the confederacy of separate state sovereignties, and your Mount Gerizim is the Constitution of the United States." -John Q. Adams (April 30, 1839)
Books I Like:
"Modern Democracies" James Bryce (1921)
"The People, Yes" Carl Sandburg (1936)
"Democracy Through Public Opinion" Harold Lasswell (1941)
"The Modern Democratic State" A.D. Lindsay (1943)
"The Health of Regionville" Earl Koos (1954)
"The Cholera Years" Charles Rosenberg (1961)
"The Pattern of Human Concerns" Hadley Cantril (1966)
"The Cloak of Competence" Robert Edgerton (1967)
"Reflections on the Causes of Human Misery" Barrington Moore Jr. (1972)
"The Quality of American Life" Angus Campbell & Philip Converse (1976)
"The Moral Economy of the Peasant" James Scott (1979)
"The Velvet Glove" Mary Jackman (1994)
"The Voice of the People" James Fishkin (1997)
"Party Ideologies in America: 1828-1996" John Gerring (1998)
"The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies" Robert Lane (2000)
"Why?" Charles Tilly (2006)
"The Health of Populations" Stephen Kunitz (2007)
"Unequal Democracy" Larry Bartels (2008)
Movies I Like:
Best Romantic Comedy: "Sullivan's Travels" Preston Sturges
Best Lubitsch: "Cluny Brown"
Best Polish School: "Ręce do góry" Jerzy Skolimowski
Best Miyazaki: "Kiki's Delivery Service"
Best Carpenter: "Assault on Precinct 13"
Best use of Joseph Gordon-Levitt: "Brick"