Health equity and embodied vulnerabilities in a region in transition

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Abstract

The Asia Pacific is currently undergoing major social, economic and political transformations that are radically changing the health landscape of the region. Some of the complex social processes occurring across the region that have health implications include: urbanisation and the expansion of megacities; climate change and environmental crises; migration and the displacement of populations; political conflict or regime change; changes in the nature of the development sector; and shifting social values and health-related behaviours; to name but a few.

Such socio-political processes often produce new forms of health subjectivities, while also carrying material effects that shape patterns of disease and health inequalities at the local, regional and/or global levels. These socio-political transformations raise questions about how to conceptualise and respond to health equity issues in a region that is rapidly growing and transforming socially, economically and politically.

This panel brings together social researchers from various disciplines whose research investigates the contemporary socio-political context of health issues in Southeast Asia. The panel gives particular focus to the shifting landscape of health vulnerabilities in the region, and situates these issues in the broader regional and global flows that shape illness, health and embodied experience. The panel aims to build transdisciplinary and cross-country dialogue that examines how health inequalities are influenced by multi-level socio-political processes and changing social norms in contemporary Southeast Asia.