|Title of host publication||The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of health, illness, behavior, and society|
|Editors||William C Cockerham, Robert Dingwall, Stella R. Quah|
|Place of Publication||Chichester|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
Recently there has been a resurgence among epidemiologists, sociologists, public health practitioners, and geographers in attempts to understand what it is about place that influences health outcomes. Where a person lives is as important as who they are when it comes to explaining their health status. This entry focuses on the main debates which have dominated this topic over the last few decades, illustrating how early studies were concerned with estimating how much spatial variation in health outcomes could be ascribed to individual characteristics (composition) and how much was due to place effects (context). Attention then shifted to more theoretical arguments that challenged the simple composition versus context dualism. Here workers began to acknowledge the continual recursive interplay between people and places. Theoretical debates continue to focus on causal pathways within a complex framework which recognizes that social practice is undertaken recursively within social structures, and within places constituted at various scales in various ways at different times.