chapter  5
20 Pages

Eroticizing the Abject: Understanding the Role of Skeeting in Sexual Practices

ByPatrick O’Byrne

In contrast to conventional definitions of health care, which position it as the provision of caring and curative services for already-present health concerns on an individual (case-by-case) basis, there is also a public health component of health care which aims to improve the health status of entire populations through the enaction of preventative interventions (Last 2001, Lupton 1995, Shah 2003). As part of the development of the latter style of health care, public health departments began to appear in the middle of the 1900s, and often with the mandate of infectious disease control (Lupton 1995). Unsurprisingly, the most successful of these public health infectious disease strategies were those that required the least amount of effort from the general population; take for example, water purification, waste removal, or mass vaccination (Lupton 1995). Nevertheless, despite knowledge about the proven effectiveness of such passive public health interventions, Western countries have recently begun to more readily invest in the development of health interventions that aim to directly modify the behaviour of individuals who are identified as being at-risk for future ill health (MacIntyre and Ellaway 2001). However, Emmons (2001) and Glass (2001) identify that such individually based initiatives rarely improve health at the population level, and they believe that this may be the case because most of the behaviour modification strategies that have been tested to date have not been based on clear understandings of the cultural significance/meaning of the behaviours and outcomes that have been targeted for modification. According to Bennett and Hodgson (1995), such cultural understandings help mitigate potentially unanticipated reactions.