Addressing the social determinants of health in the Nordic countries: wicked or tame problem?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSocialmedicinsk Tidskrift (SMT). 2020, 3, 393-404
This project studied how the Nordic countries apply policies to address the social determinants of health, and such a perspective demands awareness of the structural conditions for health. The project applied a qualitative approach using documents and interviews as data, and we explored whether the countries had comprehensive policies, if they included whole-society approaches, and if the policies were committing. Social inequalities may be termed a wicked problem, meaning that they are embedded in political conflict and thus it is difficult to find sustainable policy solutions. All countries have formulated political aims to reduce social inequalities, and such measures are mostly at the local level addressing lifestyle issues or social problems. The wider determinants of health are often not acknowledged, and policy problems are redefined from wicked to tame problems, which are less complex and conflicting.