Dominant in this volume, and critical to its unique creative significance and contribution, is the conceptual unification of stigma and syndemics. Syndemics theory is increasingly renowned in medicine and social science as a crucial framework for examining and addressing pathways of communication between social and biological aspects of acute and chronic suffering in populations. While much research to date addresses known syndemics such as those involving diabetes, HIV and mental illness, Stigma Syndemics: New Directions in Biosocial Health, (PDF) discovers new directions just beginning to emerge in syndemics research – disclosing what syndemics theory can illuminate about, for instance, the health consequences of socially pathologized pregnancy or infertility, when stigmatization of reproductive options or experiences disturb women’s health. In other chapters, newly recognized syndemics affecting detained or incarcerated individuals are highlighted, proving the physical, psychological, political-economic, and structural effects of stigmatizing legal frameworks on human health, through a syndemic lens. In another place in the volume, scholars scrutinize the stigma of poverty and how it affects both oral and nutritional health. The common thread across all chapters is connections of social stigmatization, structural conditions, and how these societal forces encourage biological and disease interactions affecting human health, in areas not earlier explored through these lenses.
Stigma Syndemics is a thoughtful and long-overdue examination into one of the most spiteful drivers of widespread affliction. The contributors to this exceptional collection reveal how stigma in its many forms sits at the center of various seemingly intractable challenges. They also issue a clear mandate to overpower the pervasive threat of stigma in its widest sense. — Bobby Milstein, ReThink Health and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This ebook reminds us of the power of stigma and its part as a cog in syndemic interactions. Stigma serves to make and reinforce ‘the other.’ The critical role of othering in exposing people to risk, affecting their ability to reveal, changing the nature of their care, limiting their access to care, and creating life long-suffering is well explored in this ebook through a series of case studies. In this volume, authors show that conditions we might consider as normal, e.g. pregnancy, or minor, such as dental disease, are shown to be caught up in cruel cycles of disease, blame and suffering. This ebook is a salutary reminder to pay attention to trajectories of blame and that an emphasis on syndemics allows for tracing the precise pathways of stigma and its effects. — Judith Littleton, University of Auckland
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