A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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“APPY” NEW YEAR: self-surveillance, big brother and the worried well

“APPY” NEW YEAR: self-surveillance, big brother and the worried well

I got a new watch for Christmas. It tells me how far I walk each day, how many calories I burn off through movement and it reminds me to stand up and move around every hour. It rewards me when... More…
Public Protest and Debate: Katie Hopkins and the Welfare State

Public Protest and Debate: Katie Hopkins and the Welfare State

On November 23rd 2015 my mind was concentrated on the politics of health and the welfare state in a way that I had not anticipated, raising issues that I now realize I had never adequately thought through before. Brunel University... More…
Highlights of 2015

Highlights of 2015

Dear Readers, Thanks for reading our posts and for following us on twitter. Also thanks to the many guest authors who have blogged for us over the last year. We hope you all have a merry break over Christmas and... More…
You and Your Genetics

You and Your Genetics

You are distinctly Neanderthal, you have an elevated risk of getting colon cancer, and quite possibly your Dad is not your Dad….“Happy Christmas!” One of the stranger xmas present suggestions that I have run into this season is a through-the-post,... More…
Watching the Detectives: Epigenetics and Ethics

Watching the Detectives: Epigenetics and Ethics

Detective fiction routinely uses DNA technology as a plot device. So much so that that the “CSI effect” has been blamed for distorting the criminal justice system. Victims of crime and jurors have unrealistic expectations about the role of evidence... More…
Why cutting spending on public health is a false economy

Why cutting spending on public health is a false economy

Public health spending is under threat. This despite the fact that increasing investment in prevention is the foundation of a sustainable NHS. Cutting these budgets is alarmingly short-termist and indicates a fundamental failure of the government to understand the changing nature... More…
Why do older British ex-pats trust Spanish health care?

Why do older British ex-pats trust Spanish health care?

When we went to talk to British ex-pats who’d retired to Spain, it was not surprising to find them enjoying the ‘good life’. Sun, sea and the ready community of other British retirees all made Mallorca or the Costa Blanca... More…
On euphemism & sheer cloudy vagueness: the case of tax credits

On euphemism & sheer cloudy vagueness: the case of tax credits

In his celebrated essay Politics and the English Language, Orwell talks about politicians calculated use of purposively vague language. Last week’s vote on tax credit reform, if you listen to Tory commentators, has precipitated a constitutional crisis in the UK.... More…
Saving Helen? Social Responsibility and Domestic Violence in The Archers

Saving Helen? Social Responsibility and Domestic Violence in The Archers

Media strategies can help challenge domestic violence and a fictional story can often give audiences a unique perspective on the lived reality of abusive relationships. This is because it is considered to operate outside of the legal and ethical constraints... More…
Social policy and austerity outcomes

Social policy and austerity outcomes

It has been argued that sociologists should ‘catch up’ with behavioural scientists and get more involved in trials of social policy, engaging in a culture of ‘experimental government’. I would be the first to agree that we could develop a... More…
“A Kinder Politics and a More Caring Society”

“A Kinder Politics and a More Caring Society”

Jeremy Corbyn stood for election as the leader of the UK Labour party on the pledge of a new “kinder politics and a more caring society”. Taken at face value it seems difficult to see how anyone can argue, or... More…
Scary clones and space-ready humans - the genome debate hots up

Scary clones and space-ready humans – the genome debate hots up

Hopes and fears around new developments in genome editing have sparked a fresh round of arguments about the ethics of eugenics. Until recently, a great deal of ethical thinking about genomics focused on what would happen if scientists ever worked... More…
Alan Kurdi

Alan Kurdi

The pitiful picture of a child who drowned during a failed sea crossing from Turkey to Greece seems to have done what reams of analysis and commentary could not: shifted the narrative. The image of Alan (also reported as Aylan)... More…
Neoliberal epidemics: the spread of austerity, obesity, stress and inequality

Neoliberal epidemics: the spread of austerity, obesity, stress and inequality

Within the small local authority of Stockton-on-Tees, where one of us lives and works, the difference in male life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas is 17 years. This is comparable to the difference in average male life expectancy between the... More…
Conceptualizing the ‘migrant crisis’ in Europe

Conceptualizing the ‘migrant crisis’ in Europe

Images of young men trying to enter lorries queuing around the Port of Calais have illustrated the ‘migrant crisis’ this June. Industrial action by port employees disrupted lorry as well as ferry travel, and was partly in response to the... More…
Blanket ban on legal highs marks a new low for liberty

Blanket ban on legal highs marks a new low for liberty

  Most of us would choose to experience pleasure – however we may define it – as often as possible. The public health and criminal justice systems are set up by the government partly to shape how, when and where... More…
Economising the social; a comment on the utility of social value

Economising the social; a comment on the utility of social value

There is a prevailing policy imperative to produce evidence about the social impact of public spending interventions. Whilst on the face of it this may appear to be a sensible development, the ubiquity of notions like social value, social enterprise,... More…
Stealing a good name: the national living wage

Stealing a good name: the national living wage

Why is a ‘national living wage’ not a Living Wage? George Osborne’s recent 2015 Budget proposal for an increased statutory Minimum Wage rate gave it a new name, cleverly stealing the Living Wage ‘brand’ with its high recognition and positive... More…
Hunger Hurts: The Politicization of an Austerity Food Blog

Hunger Hurts: The Politicization of an Austerity Food Blog

Frugality has become popularized in Britain since the 2008 financial crash. Budget cooking shows proliferate on television, supermarkets hand out free recipes on cheap meals, austerity food blogs such as A Girl Called Jack detail how to survive on £10... More…
Free from the confines of coalition, Osborne goes on benefits rampage

Free from the confines of coalition, Osborne goes on benefits rampage

George Osborne has unveiled significant cuts to welfare in his first budget for the majority Conservative government. Detailing plans to cut £12bn from the pot, the chancellor revealed that the benefits cap will be lowered to households earning £20,000 or... More…