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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

MUNTANER, Carles et al. Social class and health in Latin America. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.31, n.2, pp. 166-175. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892012000200012.

This paper reviews the principal concepts of social class, occupation, and social stratification, and their contribution to the analysis of the social determinants of health (SDH), and reviews empirical studies conducted in Latin America that use employment relations as an SDH. The review focuses on studies of the relationship between health and social class based on neo-Weberian or neo-Marxist perspectives. A search of the BIREME Virtual Health Library and the SciELO database found 28 articles meeting these characteristics. This relative dearth contrasts with the profusion of papers that use these approaches written in Europe and in the United States, with a long tradition in the analysis of SDH. In this regard, the political and programmatic implications of research on social class and employment relations are different from and complementary to studies of health gradients associated with income and education. Globalization of employment relations requires the development of new concepts to explain and measure the mechanisms of action of the SDH going beyond what is strictly labor related; in particular, the importance in the current Latin American reality of the impact of informal work on health.

Keywords : social class; socioeconomic factors; Latin America.

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