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Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law

JHPPL Call for PapersThe Political Determinants of Health and the European Union

The Political Determinants of Health and the European Union
What are the Political Determinants of Health (PDoH)? How is this concept used and what does it encompass? What PDoH are relevant to health in the European Union (EU)? Is the EU itself a political determinant and, if so, how does it shape health and health policy, within its territory and beyond? We invite papers from scholars working with this concept, either explicitly or implicitly, for a special issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, to be edited by Eleanor Brooks (University of Edinburgh), Thibaud Deruelle (University of Lausanne) and Charlotte Godziewski (City, University of London).

The term ˜political determinants of health”  (PDoH) appears with increasing frequency in public health and health governance research, yet it remains poorly defined. For some, it is part of broader models of the social, commercial, or structural determinants of health; for others, it is something different or separate; more often than not, its precise meaning is not elaborated. Policy actors have used the term PDoH to call for greater advocacy in public health and to highlight the role of political will in supporting better health. Scholarship relevant to the PDoH spans a range of disciplines, from political epidemiological studies of how political structures affect patterns of disease, to critical social science exploration of how neoliberal paradigms and globalisation shape health policy, to public health efforts to broaden our understanding of what ‘determines the (social) determinants’.

Despite this diversity of approaches and understandings, it is clear that there exists a significant and growing body of work exploring the role of political institutions, norms, policies, processes, values, and conflict in shaping health. Moreover, in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, attention to the interface between political structures and public health has been amplified, suggesting the potential value of a more coherent approach to this area of research. Our goal with this special issue is to bring together a diverse range of work that shares a common intellectual commitment to better understanding how politics shapes health, with a particular focus on the EU region and/or institutions.

We invite studies that present original research which engages with the idea of health as politically determined within the context of the EU. We do not prescribe a particular conception of ‘the political’ but rather ask authors to reflect on their own understanding, and on the use and value of the PDoH concept in their particular study. The aim of the special issue is not to distil or propose a definitive conceptualisation but rather to reflect the scope and substance of work within this field, through a collection of articles whose authors and editors self-identify as scholars of the PDoH.

Papers may use a variety of methodological approaches and be drawn from any relevant discipline, including but not limited to political science and international relations, law, sociology, public health, and economics. In addition to studies which focus on the EU, we welcome papers which examine national level cases relevant to the PDoH, where these offer clear insight for the wider EU. Papers might, for example:

• Focus on how particular aspects of polity (institutions, laws, constitutions, economic structures, voting systems), policy (political agendas, policy outputs, instruments, processes) or politics (interest groups, political parties, political decision-making, participation, public opinion, ideology, political communication) shape health.

• Examine the role of the EU as a political determinant of health, both within its member states and beyond the Union.

• Propose theoretical contributions on the nature of power in relation to political determinants of health in the EU.

• Address the concept of PDoH more directly, exploring its relationship with other models of health determinants, such as the social, commercial, economic, structural, distal/proximal determinants models.

All scholars with relevant interests are invited to submit paper proposals, and we welcome submissions from authors who have yet to publish in JHPPL, particularly junior researchers. Senior scholars are encouraged to partner with junior colleagues when submitting a proposal. Proposals from interdisciplinary and international teams of authors, as well as practitioners, are also encouraged.

We are primarily interested in original articles but may consider a limited number of commentaries. Proposals should indicate the proposed manuscript format: full manuscript length (7-8,000 words), short manuscript length (4-6,000 words), or commentary (2-3,000 words). The final word count of articles in the special issue will be determined by the editors upon proposal acceptance.

Interested authors should submit a proposal of no more than one page by email to Jed Cohen, JHPPL’s managing editor, at by 11 December 2022. Proposals should contain a clear research question, explain how the question relates to the concept of PDoH and conceptualises ‘the political’ in this sense, state the methodological approach to be used, and summarise likely findings. Proposals will be appraised on the basis of their overall quality and fit with the theme of the issue. They should list all authors and current affiliations. Please enter “Political Determinants of Health” in the subject line of the email.

Submitted proposals will be reviewed by the editorial team. Authors of successful proposals will be invited to submit a full paper and then attend an online workshop in February 2023. For authors selected to submit papers, the deadline for manuscripts will be 1 May 2023. All papers will undergo peer review.