Framing Complexity in Environmental and Human Health

Hans Keune, Timo Assmuth

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

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Framing and dealing with complexity are crucially important in environment and humanhealth science, policy, and practice. Complexity is a key feature of most environment andhuman health issues, which by definition include aspects of the environment and humanhealth, both of which constitute complex phenomena. The number and range of factorsthat may play a role in an environment and human health issue are enormous, and theissues have a multitude of characteristics and consequences. Framing this complexity iscrucial because it will involve key decisions about what to take into account whenaddressing environment and human health issues and how to deal with them. This is notmerely a technical process of scientific framing, but also a methodological decisionmakingprocess with both scientific and societal implications. In general, the benefits andrisks related to such issues cannot be generalized or objectified, and will be distributedunevenly, resulting in health and environmental inequalities. Even more generally,framing is crucial because it reflects cultural factors and historical contingencies,perceptions and mindsets, political processes, and associated values and worldviews.Framing is at the core of how we as humans relate to, and deal with, environment andhuman health, as scientists, policymakers, and practitioners, with models, policies, oractions.
Original languageDutch
Article numberDOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.350
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2018

Thematic list

  • Environment

EWI Biomedical sciences

  • B007-medicine-human-vertebrates


  • health services

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