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Book and Media Reviews
July 23 2008

Collective Consciousness and Its Discontents: Institutional Distributed Cognition, Racial Policy and Public Health in the United States

JAMA. 2008;300(4):442-446. doi:10.1001/jama.300.4.445

Over the years, much has been written regarding public policy and its negative effects on urban communities in the United States. Unfortunately, the description and documentation of these policies have not curtailed this activity. In Collective Consciousness and Its Discontents: Institutional Distributed Cognition, Racial Policy and Public Health in the United States, authors Rodrick Wallace and Mindy T. Fullilove, both researchers from the New York State Psychiatric Institute, describe how US public policies forced the displacement of vulnerable communities, creating concentrations of and enabling the spread of communicable diseases such as multidrug-resistant human immunodeficiency virus. The authors suggest that it is the dysfunction of collective consciousness that has allowed such policies to exist and continue today.

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