Voices of the poor from the margins of bengal: Structural inequities and health

Mohan J. Dutta, Uttaran Dutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In opposition to the traditional approaches to health communication that treat the subaltern sectors as passive recipients of messages of enlightenment configured in top-down interventions, the culture-centered approach foregrounds the importance of listening to subaltern communities at the margins through dialogue. We build on earlier culture-centered projects in rural communities of West Bengal, India, to develop participatory research strategies for understanding the local processes through which the structural marginalization of the poor plays out in rural Bengal. Study results point toward the marginalization of the poor both communicatively and economically, attending to the ways in which communicative marginalization lies at the heart of economic oppressions. Through locally articulated concepts of "health as shortage" and "communication as shortage," community members put forth alternative rationalities of health that highlight structural resources at the heart of health. These local articulations of shortage offer an alternative rationality for organizing health promotion efforts in the rural margins of Bengal through the foregrounding of discourses of shortage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia, South
  • culture / cultural competence
  • poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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