ALMAIDEA2017 - Cultural diversity as care, care for cultural diversity

The project, moving from a context of global society characterized by a deep cultural complexity, whose consequences include the demographic changes of recent decades, wants to analyze how cultural diversity, also expressed in the demand for specific treatments and drugs, has not yet found an adequate response within the legal-economic instruments.

In particular, it will be necessary to understand how this diversity is able to affect the possible redefinition of the boundaries of the fundamental right to health, especially in terms of recognition of care currently not included in the so-called Essential Levels of Care.

The research project aims, therefore, to verify if and how cultural diversity can be considered within the current national care system and in the more general European health context, analyzing and comparing the main existing models.

The research intends to address a series of issues of strict topicality and relevance both of a social and legal nature that involve the fundamental right to health and the demands for access to non-conventional care and medicines as an expression of cultural diversity. It will therefore seek to understand from a sociological point of view whether the demands for access to certain treatments and medicines respond to precise cultural functions within a community and can be an expression of the cultural and religious identity of a community.

Once the underlying sociological issues have been defined and the terms of reference of the right to health and access to care and medicines as elements of cultural value clarified, the research will deal with the following prevailing issues from a legal point of view:

  • Understanding whether it is possible to decline a right to care from a perspective that takes into account cultural diversity and related issues not valued by the National Health Service and regional health services;
  • Verify what are the normative prerequisites for declining the right to health according to a "cultural" meaning, including the right to maintain one's identity, traditions and religion;
  • Assuming that the right to health, declined in the above terms, is also an expression of the cultural identity of a community, leads to having to verify whether it is attributable to intangible cultural heritage and to investigate what are the possible legal instruments for its protection;
  • Recognising the cultural value of the right to health and the need for access to specific treatments and medicines requires us to ask ourselves what implications this has in terms of consumer information on the origin and production methods of the latter. In addition, there is the need to question how the so-called "traditional medicine" and existing protocols can be integrated with these new demands, verifying their sustainability from an economic point of view.

Principal Investigator

Beatrice Bertarini

Associate Professor