Social Theory & Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 182–205 | Cite as

Re-framing weight-related stigma: From spoiled identity to macro-social structures

Original Article

Abstract

A burgeoning literature explores the putative problem of ‘excess’ weight or fatness, including the management of spoiled identity. A separate literature re-frames health-related stigma with reference to macro-social structures and logics within globalized capitalism. This paper aims to promote further dialogue on such matters among social theorists of health and critics of the war on obesity. To this end, the paper first outlines Goffman’s influential legacy in ‘the fat field’ before extending Scambler’s ‘jigsaw model’ to weight-related stigma and efforts to reduce it. Informed by critical realist tenets, this sociological model furthers the analysis of stigma as a process entwined with macro-structural relations (e.g. class, command, gender and ethnicity), neoliberal ideology and scapegoating. In conclusion, the paper supports calls for a post-individualistic account of stigma, underscoring the relevance of such thinking when furthering the obesity debate, critical social theory and health.

Keywords

obesity fatness stigma Goffman critical realism 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland

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