Staying well in a South African Township: Stories from Public Health and Sociology

Emer Brangan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The current approach to preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low and middle-income countries draws heavily on the disciplines of public health and biomedicine, which construct health as a dominant normative goal, and a central component of wellbeing. ‘Health behaviours’ to be tackled in order to reduce NCD risks include unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, smoking and the harmful use of alcohol. However, qualitative research in the township of Langa, South Africa, revealed just how socially embedded these so-called health behaviours are, and how difficult it is likely to be to address them with policy based on a relatively narrow conception of health. Respondents in Langa had their own ideas about how to stay well in the township, and physical health emerged as something which needed to flow from, rather than just contributing to, a broader state of wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultures of wellbeing
Subtitle of host publicationMethod, place, policy
EditorsSarah White, Chloe Blackmore
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781137536464
ISBN (Print)9781137536440
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2015


  • Wellbeing
  • South Africa


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