Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Expressive Condition: Cultural Studies in Health Communication

Dr Jeff Lewis, Dr Belinda Lewis.

The influence of cultural studies, as a broad, transdisciplinary field of enquiry, is becoming increasingly evident in the social sciences generally and public health scholarship in particular. The work of Michel Foucault has been especially important in raising new questions for the study of health, well-being and illness prevention. While cultural studies offers some very productive possibilities for public health scholarship, there is a clear need to go beyond Foucault for the development of a consistent and coherent theoretical framework. A more substantive deployment of the concept of 'culture' would bring public health analysis to a greater understanding of the role of language, meaning-making and power for people's everyday lives and the ways in which their health is constituted. In these terms, 'the body' needs to be re-defined as a subject within a critical dynamic of language wars, rather than as a functional, biological, social or empirical unit. Notions of 'expressivity' and 'transculturalism', developed through cultural studies, provide valuable pathways toward a more expansive theoretical, heuristic and practice-based rendering of individual and collective conditions of health


Dr Jeff Lewis  (Australia)
Associate Dean
Portfolio of Design and Social Context
RMIT University

Jeff Lewis researches and teaches in cultural and media studies at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He is author of Cultural Studies Sage, 2002). He is currently researching the role of the media in global modes of political violence.

Dr Belinda Lewis  (Australia)
School of applied Communication
RMIT University

Belinda Lewis teaches in health and social - cultural diversity. She has worked as Senior research Fellow for a major research project for the Department of Human Services, Government of Victoria.

  • Cultural studies
  • The body
  • Health politics
  • Constituitivity
  • Language wars

(Virtual Presentation, English)