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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 Morality and Health

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Soc & Social Anthropology
SOSA 2503
Emma Whelan

st SOSA – October 31 Morality & Health **candies from Brendan!!!!** Healthy, Normal, Good  Biomedical model – health as normality, set of assumptions medicine thinks about disease and patients and so on.  “Health is defined by what is normal” Normal in quantitative sense = Average/usual in human beings. Qualitative= what‟s good, function, working etc.  o Qualitative and quantitative  Being healthy = conforming to some standard of what is normal. What normal people do. Being healthy means in a sense being good, conforming to standard of normal non-deviant people. Norms of health are form of social control.  A lot of connections in culture between morality and health Michel Foucault •“...if you are not like everybody else, then you are abnormal; if you are abnormal, then you are sick. These three categories, not being like everybody else, not being normal and being sick are in fact very different but have been reduced to the same thing”  Prominent social theorists  Died in 80s  Links between healthy, normal and good and how these links are made The Panopticon  Modern power works through self-discipline „technologies of the self‟  Panopticon: in images on screen o Design for prison, central tower w/ guards, inmates around. o Never know when the guards are watching, self-police behaviours. o Contemporary societies police themselves afraid of judgment.  Public execution to panopticon, subtle form of power. o How disciplines such as medicine come to discipline us. o Expert knowledge way to discipline us into becoming healthy Alan Hunt  Moral regulation: efforts to change conduct and ethical subjectivity of individuals  Responsibilisation: process of making people responsible  Concepts from Foucault and leading on from Foucault  Regulations are efforts to change how you behave and how you think of your behaviour as ethical or unethical.  To do good and to do as we‟re told to be governable. Get us to do what we are told by telling us it is the right thing to do. o EX. Mother‟s Against Drunk Driving: urges us to become responsible for drinking/driving whether we are drinking or not. Responsibility placed on us.  Responsiblization: if made responsible you can be blamed for it, made responsible in sense you are made to act in a responsible way.  Often links between responsible and citizenship. About everyone else, responsibility to other people not just yourself.  A lot of moral regulations and responsiblisation in the health area.  Moralization of health increases all the time.  Great emphasis on production of knowledge about risk factors of health.  Links between lifestyle/behaviour and disease.  Create new opportunities/responsibilities/moral expectations about health and disease.  Responsibilized not to smoke, not to get fat, to exercise etc. If we reject this you get stigmatized. Connected to view about normalcy and normal behaviour. Deviant, doing something wrong. Research on the health-morality link Cross-cultural Studies: Moral explanation most common for disease. If you violate moral principle you will get sick. Studies on Children: Western children use moral explanation to explain illness as a form of justice. Accident/cold due to careless or faulty behaviour. US Christian Fundamentalism: Some arguments from Christian fundamentalists that illnesses are a form of moral retribution: gay people getting AIDS. God‟s punishment for sexual perversion.  College Student Food and Morality Study  College students in US: students rated personality and character traits of 2 college students and vinents used to rate them. Told about their food choices. Everything else was rated the same. Healthier food choices student was rated as being more virtuous, ethical and considerate than the other student. Everything else was the same except for the food choices. Dress up these things as facts: smoking can adversely affect your health, to take next step to say smoking is irresponsible or immoral is a value statement/moral judgment, not a fact. Doing something bad for health carries implication of irresponsibility. Supposed to do things that protect our helaht and health of others, if we don‟t we are immoral. Factors that Contribute to the Moralization of Health 1. The Rise of Secular Morality  Parallels with religious morality  Sin, punishment, suffering, redemption  Prescriptions and proscriptions  Traditional source of morality is religion.  Increasing pluralistic society,  Increasingly secular in some aspects.  Secular morality: idea of lowest common denominator morality.  Secular morality based on similar principles as traditional Our commandments of Health: Thou shalt… Thou shalt not… Eat healthy Smoke nutritious foods. 4 food groups Exercise, 8 glasses Do drugs of water a day Wear sunscreen Practise safe sex, Vaccinations No other gods before medical science Wash your hands 7-8 hours of sleep per night  Based on specific moral  Emphasis on sin, punishing, redemption etc. to healthy living too much cheesecake = weight gain, only redeemed by pain of exercise and self denial in dieting. Sin, virtue, food, health, morality etc. (pregnant nun ad)
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