The pedagogy of disgust: the ethical, moral and political implications of using disgust in public health campaigns

Deborah Lupton

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    54 Citations (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    The developers of public health campaigns have often attempted to elicit disgust to persuade members of their target audiences to change their behaviour in the interests of their health. In this critical essay, I seek to problematise this taken-for-granted and unquestioned tactic. I assert that the pedagogy of disgust in public health campaigns has significant ethical, moral and political implications. In outlining my argument, the literature on the social, cultural and political elements of disgust is drawn upon. I also draw more specifically on scholarship demonstrating the ways in which disgust has operated in relation to health and medical issues to reinforce stigmatisation and discrimination against individuals and groups who are positioned as disgusting. It is concluded that advocates of using such tactics should be aware of the challenge they pose to human dignity and their perpetuation of the Self and Other binary opposition that reinforces negative attitudes towards already disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and social groups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4-14
    Number of pages11
    JournalCritical Public Health
    Volume25
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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