Social Stigmatization of Pig Farmers: Medical Perspectives on Modern Pig Farming

  • Carsten Strøby JensenEmail author
  • Lars Fynbo


This chapter studies the effect of out-spoken critics of Danish pig production on social stigmatization of people in the pig industry, including pig farmers and their families. In Denmark, as well as in most other western countries, the emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has caused a lot of criticism of contemporary pig producers and their perceived neglect of public health. Based on qualitative interviews with pig farmers and scientific experts and stakeholders, this chapter describes how expert knowledge about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) proliferates into sometimes very sceptical public opinions and how those opinions are experienced as stigmatization by the pig farmers and their families.


  1. ASA—American Sociological Association. (1999). Code of ethics and policies and procedures of the ASA committee on professional ethics. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.Google Scholar
  2. Biernacki, P., & Waldorf, D. (1981). Snowball sampling: Problems and techniques of chain referral sampling. Sociological Methods & Research, 10(2), 141–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, N. (1994). Dawn of the post-antibiotic age? British Medical Journal, 309, 615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cartwright, K., Logan, M., McNulty, C., et al. (1995). A cluster of cases of streptococcal necrotizing fasciitis in Gloucestershire. Epidemiology & Infection, 115(3), 387–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Corrigan, P. W., Kerr, A., & Knudsen, L. (2005). The stigma of mental illness: Explanatory models and methods for change. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 11, 179–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cox, L. A., & Popken, D. A. (2014). Quantitative assessment of human MRSA risks from swine. Risk Analysis, 34(9), 1639–1650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Danish Agriculture & Food Council. (2015). Statistics 2014—Pigmeat, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  8. Danmap. (2015). Danmap 2014—Use of antimicrobial agents and occurence of antimicrobal resistance in bacteria from food animals and humans in Denmark, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  9. DANMAP. (2016). Use of antimicrobial agents and occurence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from food animals, food and humans in Denmark. Report, November 2016. National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark & Statens Serum Institut.Google Scholar
  10. Deiters, C., Günnewig, V., Friedrich, A. W., Mellmann, A., & Köck, R. (2015). Are areas of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex (CC) 398 among humans still livestock-associated? International Journal of Medical Microbiology, 305, 110–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dixon, B. (1996). Killer bug ate my face. Current Biology, 6(5), 493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Herek, G. M., Gillis, J. R., & Cogan, J. C. (2009). Internalized stigma among sexual minority adults: Insights from a social psychological perspective. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(1), 32–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Köck, R., Schaumburg, F., Mellmann, A., et al. (2013). Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as causes of human infection and colonization in Germany. PLoS One, 8(2), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Link, B. G. (1987). Understanding labelling effects in the area of mental disorders: An assessment of the effects of expectations of rejection. American Sociological Review, 52(1), 96–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. C. (2001). Conceptualizing stigma. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 363–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Livingston, J. D., & Boyd, J. E. (2010). Correlates and consequences of internalized stigma for people living with mental illness: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 71, 2150–2161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. National Board of Health. (2016). Information om MRSA af svinetype [Information about swine-related MRSA]. Online brief from, National Board of Health, Copenhagen, May 2016.
  19. Statens Serum Institut. (2014). MRSA CC398-epidemiologien i Danmark, EPI-NYT, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  20. van Cleef, B. A., Verkade, E. J. M., Wulf, M. W., Buiting, A. G., Voss, A., et al. (2010). Prevalence of livestock-associated MRSA in communities with high pig-densities in The Netherlands. PLoS ONE, 5(2), e9385. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.VIVE – The Danish Center for Social Science ResearchCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations