Day 2: The Neoliberalisation of Health

Activity 5: Neoliberalism – What is it and what is its impact on health?

2 hours

Aims | To help us to:

  • Develop a working understanding of neoliberalism
  • Deepen our perspectives on health within a neoliberal policy paradigm
  • Enhance our understanding of the structural and social determinants of health

Task 1
Buzz in pairs: What do you understand by the term ‘neoliberalism’?

(25 mins)

Chat with another Fellow for 5 minutes, sharing each of your understandings of the term ‘neoliberalism’ and when you first remember hearing it used. Has your understanding and use of the term changed with time and if so, how and why? 

After the 5 minutes is up, we’ll have 15 minutes in plenary sharing our different experiences of this term and agreeing our collective definition that will guide our next task. 

Task 2 Group work
Design your picture of how neoliberalism looks in South Africa’s through the lens of health

(45 mins) 

Working in groups, you have 45 minutes to create a collage to show your understanding of neoliberalism and how such policy affects health in South Africa. 

Start with the question: What is health? Then use that meaning and show us how you see neoliberal policy affecting health and what our ‘picture of health’ looks like at present in South Africa, including the good, the bad and ugly features. 

Colourful paper, old magazines and newspapers to cut out of, scissors, glue, pastel crayons, bright pot-paints and brushes, koki pens, flip chart stand & paper will be given to your group to spark your creativity.  

Have one Fellow in your group agree to keep track of key debates that you had and how you settled them so that you can share them in plenary. Have a second Fellow in your group ready to explain your poster/s in plenary. 

Task 3 Plenary
Presentations and discussion on your ‘Picture of Health’

(50 mins)

Each group will put their poster/s up in the ‘Picture of Health in South Africa’ exhibition area, and will take turns in explaining their poster/s in plenary, including how you settled debates. Remember, each group will have two presenters collaborate to present for the group. 

In plenary, we’ll then look at patterns coming through the posters and what’s different between them. We’ll think together about what we mean by ‘health’ and what we’re learning together about the ‘Picture of Health’ in South Africa today under neoliberalism.