Critical literatures, and public discourses, on public health policies and practices often present fixated concerns with paternalism. In this paper, rather than focus on the question of whether and why intended instances of paternalistic policy might be justified, we look to the wider, real-world socio-political contexts against which normative evaluations of public health must take place. We explain how evaluative critiques of public health policy and practice must be sensitive to the nuance and complexity of policy contexts. This includes sensitivity to the ‘imperfect’ reach and application of policy, leading to collateral effects including collateral paternalism. We argue that theoretical critiques must temper their demandingness to real-world applicability, allowing for the detail of social and policy contexts, including harm reduction: apparent knock-down objections of paternalism cannot hold if they are limited to an abstract or artificially-isolated evaluation of the reach of a public health intervention.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Health Care Analysis|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2020|
- Collateral paternalism
- Harm Reduction
- Public Policy
- Public Health Ethics