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Social Differences in Health as a Challenge to the Danish Welfare State

  • Camilla Hoffmann Merrild
Chapter
Part of the Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference book series (ATSIAD)

Abstract

In Denmark, as in most other parts of the world, socially deprived people most often lead shorter and more illness-ridden lives than people living in more affluent social situations. In the context of an egalitarian welfare state where ideals of equality, solidarity, and universality dominate, this may seem somewhat paradoxical. The central argument in this chapter is that differences in morbidity and mortality across the population in a very definite way reveal fundamental structures of inequality in the Danish egalitarian welfare state. These differences are most often overlooked or ignored, given the egalitarian ideology of imagined sameness. This implies that ideologies of egalitarianism in the Nordic welfare states may sometimes blind us to the consequences that existing social hierarchies have for the lives of people from lower social classes.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to extend my profound thanks to Rikke Sand Andersen for taking the time to read through this chapter and for offering insightful and critical constructive comments. I would also like to thank the members of CAP anthropology at The Research Unit for General Practice for their valuable comments and input.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Camilla Hoffmann Merrild
    • 1
  1. 1.The Research Unit for General Practice, Department of Public HealthAarhus UniversityÅrhusDenmark

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