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Summary

Pathologies of Power uses harrowing stories of life - and death - in extreme situations to interrogate our understanding of human rights. Paul Farmer argues that promoting the social and economic rights of the world's poor is the most important human rights struggle of our times. With passionate eyewitness accounts from the prisons of Russia and the beleaguered villages of Haiti and Chiapas, this book links the lived experiences of individual victims to a broader analysis of structural violence. Farmer challenges conventional thinking within human rights circles and exposes the relationships between political and economic injustice, on one hand, and the suffering and illness of the powerless, on the other.

Farmer shows that the same social forces that give rise to epidemic diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis also sculpt risk for human rights violations. He illustrates the ways that racism and gender inequality in the United States are embodied as disease and death. Yet this book is far from a hopeless inventory of abuse. Farmer's disturbing examples are linked to a guarded optimism that new medical and social technologies will develop in tandem with a more informed sense of social justice. Otherwise, he concludes, we will be guilty of managing social inequality rather than addressing structural violence.

©2003 The Regents of the University of California (P)2017 Tantor

Critic reviews

"Through his engaging and passionate style, Farmer gives voice to the unheard poor around the world and challenges medical professionals to broaden the vision of medicine to include human rights." ( The Lancet)

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What a boring narration.

It's a shame that this very interesting book, had such a poor narration. It needs a more determinant and energetic voice. It would be better have it paperback.

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  • Amanda Leppert
  • 06-08-18

A must read for aspiring global health students

Not only does this book provide evidence of how pathologies of power systematically work against the helpless individual, but also it provides insight on the flaws currents systems and approaches provide as well as direction on where to go. Although listening in one sitting becomes infuriating to learn about so many injustices; it also provides motivation to systematically work forward in a direction to relieve these injustices and work for a better tomorrow.

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  • Michael J Curran
  • 25-05-21

Great lessons for all of us

Dr. Farmer breaks down how numerous populations face a form of quiet violence every day. Delivering health care to the poor because they need it, not determined by what they can pay for....what a concept!