Category Archives: Health/Medicine

Theory and ( Seriously) Confronting Health Inequalities

I have always regarded ‘theory’ as an inescapable component of writing about the world we inhabit. To say how the world is, in however modest a fashion, is after all to sign up to a family of ontological, epistemological and moral premises: that is to say, to sign up to a degree of commitment to… Read More »

A Handful of Notes on Gender and Health

I have written quite a bit about social class and health, but relatively little about gender and health. The logic behind this resides in my thesis that the paramount explanatory mechanism in post-1970s financial capital is the ‘class/command dynamic’. This does not of course mean that I think gender (or ethnicity, age and so on)… Read More »

Mental Health and Tackling Stigma

The attention publicly devoted to mental illness is far from being matched by properly funded treatment and care. Nor, it seems, has it shaken off an overly long history of cultural shaming and blaming. In this brief contribution I focus in particular on the stigma that still sticks like glue to many diagnoses of mental… Read More »

Sociology and Stigma: An Overview

This is a revised version of an item written for Bill Cockerham’s Encyclopaedia of Medical Sociology a while back. Stigma, I noted somewhat uncontroversially, denotes the presence of an attribute that discredits its possessor. Since it is evident such attributes have varied by time and place, it is apparent that stigma and stigmatization necessarily involve… Read More »

Critical Realism and Health

This is an adaption of a piece I wrote for Bill Cockerham’s Encyclopaedia of Medical Sociology a while ago. It stands alone but I hope it also complements other blogs I have written on critical realism’s range and merits. Since I first wrote it: (a) sadly (he was a lovely as well as talented man)… Read More »

The Implosion of the NHS

I have not blogged about the NHS for quite some time. In fact the last occasion I explicitly did so was when Wendy Savage and I were campaigning together in 2011 to strangle the Health and Social Care Bill at birth (our talks to students still reside somewhere on YouTube). I remain sceptical and confused… Read More »

Shame and Blame: Moving On

I have become accustomed to writing blogs as thought-in-progress, typically in a café or bar. This one is no exception. What is slightly different however is that it is entirely spontaneous. I have given its subject matter no thought prior to opening my laptop. It is about stigma and deviance. I have previously commended an… Read More »

‘Realistic’ Public Health Interventions

In his recently published The Health Gap, Michael Marmot reports on two lists of ‘top ten tips’ for health. The first was published by England’s Chief Medical Officer in 1999 and contains the following items: 1 Don’t smoke. If you can stop, stop. If you can’t, cut down. 2 Follow a balanced diet with plenty… Read More »

Marmot, Me and the ‘Location Paradox’

In a co-authored piece in the early 1990s the phrase location paradox was introduced. It may appear a slightly clumsy phrase, but the point was: (a) to distinguish between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’, and (b) to assert that insiders are listened to insofar as they advocate ineffective policies, while outsiders are hushed or ignored insofar as… Read More »

The Structuring of Agency

I have sought to make the case that for all that agency has causal power it is always structured. It is hardly a novel thesis. Over the past months, however, I have been asked two interesting questions. The first, posed by Mark Carrigan somewhere is cyberspace, is that surely my ‘greedy bastards hypothesis’ (GBH) in… Read More »