Stigma

A biocultural proposal for integrating evolutionary and political-economic approaches

Alexandra Brewis, Amber Wutich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: Stigma—the process by which people become socially discredited because they hold a characteristic that is classified as unacceptable or undesirable—has barely been considered in biocultural analyses. Yet, it provides an acute point of articulation for evolutionary and political-economic perspectives on human variation, including the biocultural production of health disparities. To explain the theoretical integration of the two perspectives to stigma, we first lay out some operationalizable definitions of stigma, and review feasible methods to capture them in the field. We then test the roles of predictors suggested from evolutionary (respondent's level of disgust, fear of contagion) and political-economic (respondent's perceived social standing and negative social labeling of those who violate hygiene norms) theories of stigma. Methods: We used survey, interview, and behavioral report data from a study of hygiene behaviors at four local community sites in Guatemala, Fiji, New Zealand, and the United States (N = 300). We applied a hierarchical GLMM design that treats site as a random effect. Results: The independent influences of both variable sets are evident in publicly visible forms of reported hygiene behaviors, specifically the exhibition of clean bodies, clothes, and homes. Conclusion: We propose that the study of stigma provides a productive operationalizable space to engage the promise of the biocultural synthesis to integrate evolutionary and political-economic models of health and human variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23290
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

economic approach
hygiene
Hygiene
stigma
Economics
economics
Fiji
Guatemala
Economic Models
Clothing
Health
New Zealand
Fear
econometric models
Melanesia
economic model
clothing
fearfulness
health
Interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics

Cite this

@article{26202a645d194accb485e55ed2334c07,
title = "Stigma: A biocultural proposal for integrating evolutionary and political-economic approaches",
abstract = "Objectives: Stigma—the process by which people become socially discredited because they hold a characteristic that is classified as unacceptable or undesirable—has barely been considered in biocultural analyses. Yet, it provides an acute point of articulation for evolutionary and political-economic perspectives on human variation, including the biocultural production of health disparities. To explain the theoretical integration of the two perspectives to stigma, we first lay out some operationalizable definitions of stigma, and review feasible methods to capture them in the field. We then test the roles of predictors suggested from evolutionary (respondent's level of disgust, fear of contagion) and political-economic (respondent's perceived social standing and negative social labeling of those who violate hygiene norms) theories of stigma. Methods: We used survey, interview, and behavioral report data from a study of hygiene behaviors at four local community sites in Guatemala, Fiji, New Zealand, and the United States (N = 300). We applied a hierarchical GLMM design that treats site as a random effect. Results: The independent influences of both variable sets are evident in publicly visible forms of reported hygiene behaviors, specifically the exhibition of clean bodies, clothes, and homes. Conclusion: We propose that the study of stigma provides a productive operationalizable space to engage the promise of the biocultural synthesis to integrate evolutionary and political-economic models of health and human variation.",
author = "Alexandra Brewis and Amber Wutich",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/ajhb.23290",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "American Journal of Human Biology",
issn = "1042-0533",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Stigma

T2 - A biocultural proposal for integrating evolutionary and political-economic approaches

AU - Brewis, Alexandra

AU - Wutich, Amber

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Objectives: Stigma—the process by which people become socially discredited because they hold a characteristic that is classified as unacceptable or undesirable—has barely been considered in biocultural analyses. Yet, it provides an acute point of articulation for evolutionary and political-economic perspectives on human variation, including the biocultural production of health disparities. To explain the theoretical integration of the two perspectives to stigma, we first lay out some operationalizable definitions of stigma, and review feasible methods to capture them in the field. We then test the roles of predictors suggested from evolutionary (respondent's level of disgust, fear of contagion) and political-economic (respondent's perceived social standing and negative social labeling of those who violate hygiene norms) theories of stigma. Methods: We used survey, interview, and behavioral report data from a study of hygiene behaviors at four local community sites in Guatemala, Fiji, New Zealand, and the United States (N = 300). We applied a hierarchical GLMM design that treats site as a random effect. Results: The independent influences of both variable sets are evident in publicly visible forms of reported hygiene behaviors, specifically the exhibition of clean bodies, clothes, and homes. Conclusion: We propose that the study of stigma provides a productive operationalizable space to engage the promise of the biocultural synthesis to integrate evolutionary and political-economic models of health and human variation.

AB - Objectives: Stigma—the process by which people become socially discredited because they hold a characteristic that is classified as unacceptable or undesirable—has barely been considered in biocultural analyses. Yet, it provides an acute point of articulation for evolutionary and political-economic perspectives on human variation, including the biocultural production of health disparities. To explain the theoretical integration of the two perspectives to stigma, we first lay out some operationalizable definitions of stigma, and review feasible methods to capture them in the field. We then test the roles of predictors suggested from evolutionary (respondent's level of disgust, fear of contagion) and political-economic (respondent's perceived social standing and negative social labeling of those who violate hygiene norms) theories of stigma. Methods: We used survey, interview, and behavioral report data from a study of hygiene behaviors at four local community sites in Guatemala, Fiji, New Zealand, and the United States (N = 300). We applied a hierarchical GLMM design that treats site as a random effect. Results: The independent influences of both variable sets are evident in publicly visible forms of reported hygiene behaviors, specifically the exhibition of clean bodies, clothes, and homes. Conclusion: We propose that the study of stigma provides a productive operationalizable space to engage the promise of the biocultural synthesis to integrate evolutionary and political-economic models of health and human variation.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85068690520&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85068690520&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/ajhb.23290

DO - 10.1002/ajhb.23290

M3 - Article

JO - American Journal of Human Biology

JF - American Journal of Human Biology

SN - 1042-0533

M1 - e23290

ER -