From Ethno-cultural Capital to Health Capital: Ethno-specific Health Capital Accumulation Practices amongst Macedonians in Australia

By Irena Veljanova.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Consistent with the neo-liberal push in the global economy, the field of health has been identified as a profitable industry whereby ‘market demand’ for the ‘commodity of good health’ is constantly increasing. Under market conditions, the commodity of good health has effectively been price-tagged alongside fashion designer clothing with consequences for affordability and ‘purchasing power’. The commodification of health has been widely criticised by proponents of a ‘people-centred’ approach, which assumes that people are knowledgeable agents, that people can source strategies for health capital accumulation, and that the sourcing of those strategies is not an exclusive role of ‘medical experts’. Invoking Bourdieu’s field theory, within ethnocultural fields, individual agency is informed by individuals’ ethnocultural capital: ethnocultural capital also informs ethno-specific health capital accumulation practices.
Overall, this paper will explore the degree of popularity of the ‘people-centred’ health approach amongst Macedonians in Australia. In particular, it will focus on the research findings of a national survey conducted in 2007/2008 in the interests of exploring the attitudes of Macedonians in Australia regarding Macedonian-specific health capital accumulation practices such as spiritual healing, traditional medicine, familial security, building social networks, and ‘God’s foreknowledge’. The findings of the national survey on Macedonians in Australia suggest the significant popularity of a ‘people-centred’ health approach amongst them. In addition, the findings indicate the existence of varied attitudes towards Macedonian-specific health accumulation practices.

Keywords: Commodification of Health, Ethnocultural Field, Health Capital, Macedonians in Australia, People-centred Health.

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp.117-132. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 679.082KB).

Irena Veljanova

Doctoral Candidate/Casual Academic, School of Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia


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