Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain
the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in
Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles
Healthy publics – transforming and sustaining health research and action
Editors: Professor Steve Hinchliffe (Geography and College of Life and Environmental Sciences and Deputy Director, The Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, University of Exeter, UK), Professor Lenore Manderson (Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, SA, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Brown University, USA), Dr Martin Moore (Associate Research Fellow in Medical History, and Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, University of Exeter, UK)
Editorial advisory board: Professor Mark Jackson (University of Exeter, UK), Professor Melanie Rock (University of Calgary, Canada), Professor Katrina Wyatt (University of Exeter, UK), Professor Mohan Dutta (Massey University, New Zealand).
In recent years health has shifted from something that may be possessed or lost (‘to have your health’), or from being biomedically defined (as the absence of disease), to something more elusive, something to reach for, something of a project. The project can be a matter for individuals, increasingly made to feel responsible for their own wellbeing under the auspices of a new public health and preventive medicine. It is also a matter for local and national administrations, struggling with tight budgets and demands on services, mindful of the costs of the treatment and management of chronic conditions. It can have international dimensions. Often structured by the legacies of colonialism and by international advisory bodies and aid programs, global health has long been concerned with issues of inequality and the responsibilities, some would say the self-interests, of high income countries. More recently still, health has become a collective project, tying together people, nonhuman animals and ecologies (One Health), and planetary processes (Planetary Health). In their different ways, all of these versions of health and health promotion imply a collective transdisciplinary endeavour. What ties them together is a common call for new kinds of public participation, engagement and social contract. In other words, they all tend to promote, though often fail to specify, what have been referred to as ‘healthy publics’ (see: Hinchliffe, Jackson, Wyatt et al (2018)). This article collection grapples with health as a collective, contested, public, process.