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Conflicting experiences of health and habitus in a poor urban neighbourhood: a Bourdieusian ethnography

journal contribution
posted on 22.01.2021, 11:05 by Tom Scott-Arthur, Brian Brown, Paula Saukko
An ethnographic study of health and wellbeing was undertaken in a deprived urban neighbourhood in the UK Midlands. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, capital and field we discerned three different, even conflicting, ways of understanding and acting on health: (i) older adults discussed their wellbeing in relation to the local context or field, walking the dog, helping at the community centre and visiting the off licence, (ii) young professionals and students who lived in the neighbourhood were oriented towards leisure facilities, career opportunities and supermarkets outside of the neighbourhood, disdaining local facilities, (iii) community activists and carers discussed health in terms of providing for others but not themselves. Bourdieu is frequently used in medical sociology to highlight how poor people’s lifestyle is constrained by their habitus; we suggest paying more attention to its both enabling and differentiating contradictions as well as the constraints it entails. Empirically and in terms of health promotion findings suggest that supposedly healthy activities, such as going to the gym, may also be a means of rejecting the local community; similarly, older people’s pottering about in the neighbourhood, which is not usually recognised as a healthy activity, may enhance wellbeing in this context.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Sociology of Health and Illness

Publisher

Wiley

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [FULL CITE], which has been published in final form at [Link to final article using the DOI]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Acceptance date

20/01/2021

ISSN

0141-9889

eISSN

1467-9566

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Paula Saukko. Deposit date: 20 January 2021

Exports

Loughborough Publications

Categories

Exports