Three related themes have run through this book: (i) the role that inherited ideas about the consequences of social and economic change and of causes of disease have had on explanations of the social determinants of the health of populations; (ii) the way these inherited ideas have been assimilated into different political ideologies that influence the choices we all make of the evidence we accept and ignore; and (iii) the importance of particular contexts—including, but not limited to, political institutions—for understanding the health of populations. This concluding chapter draws together these themes, first by using debates about HIV-AIDS for illustrative purposes, and then by returning to the issues raised at the beginning of the book: (i) the significance of the distinction between the cognitive styles of hedgehogs and foxes, and (ii) the importance of anomalies and what they can tell us about the generalizability of theories about the social determinants of death and disease.
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