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Shaming encounters : Reflections on contemporary understandings of social inequality and health

Peacock, M, Bissell, P and Owen, J 2014, 'Shaming encounters : Reflections on contemporary understandings of social inequality and health' , Sociology, 48 (2) , pp. 387-402.

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The idea that social inequality has deleterious consequences for population health is well established within social epidemiology and medical sociology (Marmot and Wilkinson, 2001; Scambler, 2012). In this article, we critically examine arguments advanced by Wilkinson and Pickett in The Spirit Level (2009) that in more unequal countries population health suffers, in part, because of the stress and anxiety arising from individuals making invidious or shame-inducing comparisons with others regarding their social position. We seek to extend their arguments, drawing on sociologically informed studies exploring how people reflect on issues of social comparison and shame, how they resist shame, and the resources, such as ‘collective imaginaries’ (Bouchard, 2009), which may be deployed to protect against these invidious comparisons. We build on the arguments outlined in The Spirit Level, positing a sociologically informed account of shame connected to contemporary understandings of class and neoliberalism, as well as inequality.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Health inequality, income inequality, shame, social comparison, social epidemiology
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Journal or Publication Title: Sociology
Publisher: Sage
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0038-0385
Related URLs:
Funders: University of Sheffield
Depositing User: M Peacock
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2015 11:32
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2015 11:32

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