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    ABSTRACT: This article argues that gambling is a paradigmatic form of consumption that captures the intensified logic at the heart of late modern capitalist societies. As well as a site of intensified consumption, it claims that gambling has also become the location of what has been described as a new form of 'social pathology' related to excess play. Drawing on Castells' (1996) notion of techno-economic systems, it explores the ways that intersections between technology, capital and states have generated the conditions for this situation, and critiques the unequal distribution of gambling environments that result. It argues that, while the products of these systems are consumed on a global scale, the risks associated with them tend to be articulated in bio-psychological discourses of 'pathology' which are typical of certain types of knowledge that have salience in neo-liberal societies, and which work to conceal wider structural relationships. We argue that a deeper understanding of the political and cultural economy of gambling environments is necessary, and provide a synoptic overview of the conditions upon which gambling expansion is based. This perspective highlights parallels with the wider global economy of finance capital, as well as the significance of intensified consumption, of which gambling is an exemplary instance. It also reveals the existence of a geo-political dispersal of 'harms', conceived as deteriorations of financial, temporal and social relationships, which disproportionately affect vulnerable social groups. From this, we urge an understanding of commercial gambling based on a critique of the wider social body of gambling environments within techno economic systems, rather than the (flawed) individual bodies within them.
    British Journal of Sociology 12/2013; 64(4):717-38. DOI:10.1111/1468-4446.12050
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper I revisit previous critiques that I have made of much, though by no means all, bioethical discourse. These pertain to faithfulness to dualistic ontology, a taken-for-granted normative anthropocentrism, and the exclusion of a consideration of how political economy shapes the conditions for bioethical discourse (Twine Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8(3):285-295, 2005; International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 16(3):1-18, 2007, 2010). Part of my argument around bioethical dualist ontology is to critique the assumption of a division between the "medical" (human) and "agricultural" (nonhuman) and to show various ways in which they are interrelated. I deepen this analysis with a focus on transnational pharmaceutical companies, with specific attention to their role in enhancing agricultural production through animal drug administration. I employ the topical case of antibiotics in order to speak to current debates in not only the interdisciplinary field of bioethics but also that of animal studies. More generally, the animal-industrial complex (Twine Journal for Critical Animal Studies 10(1):12-39, 2012) is underlined as a highly relevant bioethical object that deserves more conceptual and empirical attention.
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10/2013; 10(4). DOI:10.1007/s11673-013-9476-1
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    ABSTRACT: There is a particular silence around the social life of defecation. Little analyzed, rarely discussed in polite conversation, it largely appears only at moments of dysfunction. For active heroin users, digestion is often characterized by such dysfunction and experienced through constipation; recovery, a welcome return to defecating 'normally.' Drawing on interviews with active and recovering heroin users in southern England, we focus on this moment of transition in order to illuminate the experiences and transitions between a dysfunctional, constipated body and 'normal' defecation. We discuss the contrast between candor in talk in active use with the silences surrounding defecation talk in recovery, and analyze these twin shifts within the context of a historical progression within Europe toward ever-increasing levels of masking defecation from social life. Located thus, this analysis of the tipping point between constipation and 'normality,' disclosure and embarrassment, provides a powerful lens through which to view the invisibility of defecation in contemporary British social life.
    Medical Anthropology 03/2013; 32(2):95-108. DOI:10.1080/01459740.2012.694929
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    Addiction 10/2012; 107(10):1736-7. DOI:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03669.x
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The study investigated whether perceived relative position was associated with mental well-being for people living in deprived areas, as a contribution to debates about income inequality, relative deprivation and health. Methods: A survey of 4615 residents of deprived areas of Glasgow measured mental well-being using the WEMWBS scale. Perceived relative position was assessed locally and across wider society in relation to housing, neighbourhood and standard of living. Personal and dwelling characteristics were controlled for. Results: Mental well-being was found to be positively associated with: perceived relative quality (RR 4.1, 95% CI 2.4 to 6.8) and status (RR 7.1, 95% CI 4.5 to 11.1) of the home; perceived internal reputation of the neighbourhood (RR 4.9, 95% CI 2.9 to 8.2), though not external reputation; and perceived relative standard of living (RR 5.2, 95% CI 3.2 to 8.4). Furthermore, respondents who thought they lived in an area where some people had higher incomes than others also reported higher mental well-being (RR 4.5, 95% CI 2.2 to 9.1), controlling for the effects of their own income. Conclusion: Studies of inequality and health could give more consideration to the importance of the residential domain of housing and neighbourhood to mental well-being outcomes, via the psychosocial pathway. The local spatial scale may be more important to issues of relative deprivation than previously thought, as people make local as well as broader comparisons. The ability to make upward comparisons of income within deprived areas may be beneficial to residents rather than detrimental, possibly as an indicator of area progress and 'normality'.
    Journal of epidemiology and community health 07/2012; 67(1). DOI:10.1136/jech-2011-200415
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    ABSTRACT: Preventive approaches to health are disproportionately accessed by the more affluent and recent health improvement policy advocates the use of targeted preventive primary care to reduce risk factors in poorer individuals and communities. Outreach has become part of the health service response. Outreach has a long history of engaging those who do not otherwise access services. It has, however, been described as eclectic in its purpose, clientele and mode of practice; its effectiveness is unproven.Using a primary prevention programme in the UK as a case, this paper addresses two research questions: what are the perceived problems of non-engagement that outreach aims to address; and, what specific mechanisms of outreach are hypothesised to tackle these. Drawing on a wider programme evaluation, the study undertook qualitative interviews with strategically selected health-care professionals. The analysis was thematically guided by the concept of 'candidacy' which theorises the dynamic process through which services and individuals negotiate appropriate service use. The study identified seven types of engagement 'problem' and corresponding solutions. These 'problems' lie on a continuum of complexity in terms of the challenges they present to primary care. Reasons for non-engagement are congruent with the concept of 'candidacy' but point to ways in which it can be expanded. The paper draws conclusions about the role of outreach in contributing to the implementation of inequalities focused primary prevention and identifies further research needed in the theoretical development of both outreach as an approach and candidacy as a conceptual framework.
    BMC Health Services Research 12/2011; 11(1):350. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-11-350
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    ABSTRACT: This paper explores the implications of observed national housing sector experiences across the advanced economies before, through and out of the ‘Great Financial Crash’ (GFC) of 2008. The evidence suggests that over-aggregative explanation of these experiences and their broader economic consequences is somewhat misleading; empirical and theoretical explanations to date have largely failed to recognise that housing sectors can play transformative rather than just passive roles in shaping national economic outcomes. In practice, housing volatility, and the implications of this volatility for macroeconomic stability and growth, reflects specific national financial, spatial and policy structures, housing system institutional structures and participant behaviour patterns. In spite of this, the housing policy paradigms that dominated in the decades prior to the GFC remain largely in place, and national housing policy frameworks continue to give insufficient attention to housing system stability and efficiency concerns. Housing research and housing policies need to be reoriented to better address the processes that contributed to the GFC and that more generally continue to shape national economic cycles and growth paths. KeywordsHousing–Cycles–Variability–Regions–Institutions–Behaviours–Policies
    Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 09/2011; 26(3):375-384. DOI:10.1007/s10901-011-9231-z
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    ABSTRACT: To establish whether rehousing people to new dwellings had impacts upon residents' mental health and psychosocial benefits derived from the home. A prospective controlled study across Scotland involving 723 householders (334 intervention; 389 control). Interviews were carried out just prior to the move, and 2 years thereafter. Changes in self-reported psychosocial benefits were greater than changes in mental health. Respondents in family households appeared to have gained the most and those in older person households the least. For those in families, the most consistent effects flowed from improvements in space, privacy and change of location; for those in adult-only households, improvements in crime and safety mattered most. Gains in psychosocial benefits were associated with improved mental health (SF-36) scores. Rehousing has substantial impacts on residential conditions and on psychosocial benefits, and lesser (possibly indirect) impacts upon mental health. Housing is a complex intervention applied to a heterogeneous group for a range of reasons. Hence its impacts result from different aspects of residential change for particular types of household.
    International Journal of Public Health 08/2011; 56(6):597-607. DOI:10.1007/s00038-011-0275-3
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    ABSTRACT: More frequent neighbourhood walking is a realistic goal for improving physical activity in deprived areas. We address regeneration activity by examining associations of residents' circumstances and perceptions of their local environment with frequent (5+ days/week) local walking (NW5) in 32 deprived neighbourhoods (Glasgow, UK), based on interview responses from a random stratified cross-sectional sample of 5657 residents. Associations were investigated by bivariate and multilevel, multivariate logistic regression. People living in low-rise flats or houses reported greater NW5 than those in multi-storey flats. Physical and social aspects of the neighbourhood were more strongly related to walking than perceptions of housing and neighbourhood, especially the neighbourhood's external reputation, and feelings of safety and belonging. Amenity use, especially of parks, play areas and general shops (mainly in the neighbourhood), was associated with more walking. Multidimensional regeneration of the physical, service, social and psychosocial environments of deprived communities therefore seems an appropriate strategy to boost walking.
    Health & Place 03/2011; 17(3):727-37. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.01.010
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    ABSTRACT: The marginality of rural life, understood in structural, economic, political and geographic terms, has been an underlying theme in both historical and contemporary studies of the Russian countryside. Much less attention has been paid to marginality as relational and the moral discourses of (un)belonging and (un)deservingness through which moral centres and peripheries are constructed within rural Russian contexts. This paper explores the ways in which both fixed, structural and constructed, personalised explanations of hardship are employed by rural people and how these relate to processes of integration into or exclusion from ‘caring’ and ‘moral’ communities. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Burla village, western Siberia, in 2008–10, and focusing primarily on the activities of the Centre for Social Assistance to Families and Children located there, the paper discusses the ways in which affiliation with the ‘moral centre’ facilitates access to both formal and informal forms of care and assistance from which those at the ‘moral periphery’ are more often excluded.
    Journal of Rural Studies 01/2011; 27(1-27):45-53. DOI:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2010.11.002
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