Transnational corporations, oral health and human agency: a sociological perspective [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at ‘Transnational Corporation and Oral Health Inequalities’ IADR symposium, June 2019, Vancouver]

Professor B Gibson

Transnational corporations, oral health and human agency: a sociological perspective [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at ‘Transnational Corporation and Oral Health Inequalities’ IADR symposium, June 2019, Vancouver]

Authors: Professor B Gibson
doi: 10.1922/CDH_SpecialIssueGibson06

Abstract

This paper explores the range of approaches that might be adopted in order to take seriously the challenge that Transnational Corporations(TNCs) pose to inequalities in oral health. The challenge we must face together is the challenge of promoting freedom from disease and enabling all humans to flourish. The paper examines how the goals of the new public health might be better realised through consideration of the ‘corporate determinants of health’. It is argued that in order to meaningfully engage with the challenge posed by TNCs in oral health we have to recognise that not all TNCs are evil. Indeed some TNCs have played a central role in the improvements in the oral health of populations over the last fifty or so years. The paper goes on to outline how an awareness of different professional strategies can be used to frame an interdisciplinary programme of work looking at the role of TNCs in oral health. These strategies involve a professional focus on data collection and analysis, a focus on policy, being critical, being publicly involved, and acting with foresight. The paper goes on to provide an outline of how these strategies might be pursued to engage TNCs in a programme of research around inequalities in oral health. It is proposed that we form a broad collaboration between appropriate TNCs, academics and funders. This paper provides a very brief sketch about how such a program might be envisaged.

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