Round hole, square peg: a discourse analysis of social inequalities and the political legitimization of health technology in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Public Health. 2019. 19 (1691) https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8023-3
Background As research increasingly investigates the impacts of technological innovations in health on social inequalities, political discourse often promotes development and adoption, limiting an understanding of unintended consequences. This study aimed to investigate national public health policy discourse focusing on innovative health technology and social inequalities, from a Norwegian context. Methods The analysis relies on a perspective inspired by critical discourse analysis using central State documents typically influential in the lawmaking procedure. Results The results and discussion focus on three major discourse strands: 1) ‘technologies discourse’ (types of technologies), 2) ‘responsibility discourse’ (who has responsibility for health and technology), 3) ‘legitimization discourse’ (how technologies are legitimized). Conclusions Results suggest that despite an overt political imperative for reducing social inequalities, the Norwegian national discourse gives little attention to the potential for these innovations to unintentionally (re) produce social inequalities. Instead, it is characterized by neoliberal undertones, individualizing and commercializing public health and promoting pro-innovation ideology.