Conférence de Kristin Voigt au CRÉUM

Vous êtes invité à venir entendre Kristin Voigt (McGill – Montreal Health Equity Research Collaboration) qui présentera une conférence intitulée Shame, stigma and ‘denormalisation’: helpful instruments in the pursuit of public health?, le mardi 18 octobre à 12 h 30 au CRÉUM (2910 boul. Édouard-Montpetit, salle 309).

Voici un résumé de sa conférence (qui sera en anglais). Bring your lunch if you want!

Tackling the stigmatisation and negative perception of various health conditions and health behaviours is an important goal in many areas of public health. More recently, however, public health initiatives have begun to rely on strategies that aim to ‘denormalise’ certain behaviours, i.e. to make them appear less common and less desirable. The rationale underlying this approach is that the social unacceptability of particular behaviours can be a strong motivator for behaviour change. That this approach risks stigmatising those who engage in the targeted behaviours has been recognised in the debate but public health experts disagree on whether denormalisation necessarily leads to stigma and on whether stigmatisation could be an acceptable cost in the pursuit of population health.

This paper aims to assess whether denormalisation should be considered part of the public health ‘armoury’ and, if so, what principles or considerations should guide its use. I begin by clarifying the relevant concepts – stigma, shame and denormalisation – and the relationships between them. I then consider theoretical arguments about the role that stigma and shame can play in just societies, drawing on a debate between Martha Nussbaum and Richard Arneson. Framing this question as a conflict between concerns about distributive and relational equality, I argue that, while the principled stance against stigmatisation that can be developed from Nussbaum’s argument is not plausible, the empirical literature suggests not only that denormalisation, shame and stigma are likely to have a negative net-effect on health outcomes, but also that they can exacerbate other forms of inequality.