Contextualizing salutogenesis and Antonovsky in public health development
More than 20 years have passed since the American-Israeli medical sociologist Aaron Antonovsky introduced his salutogenic theory ‘sense of coherence’ as a global orientation to view the world, claiming that the way people view their life has a positive influence on their health. Sense of coherence explains why people in stressful situations stay well and even are able to improve their health. The origin of salutogenesis derives from the interviews of Israeli women with experiences from the concentration camps of the Second World War who in spite of this stayed healthy. Sixty years after the Holocaust this paper aim to shed light on the salutogenic theory in the context of public health and health promotion. In addition, other approaches with salutogenic elements for the explanation of health are considered. A potential direction for public health of the early 21st century is proposed. The historical paradox is to honour the victims of the Holocaust and see the birth of post-modern public health and the salutogenic framework through the experience of its survivors in the ashes of Modernity.