Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals, April 2015 — Part II by Aaron Seaman

Social Science & Medicine

Felt stigma and obesity: Introducing the generalized other
Eva Barlösius and Axel Philipps

People with a big body are tainted in western societies. Although most research on obesity occurs in the medical context, few studies investigate characteristics and effects of feelings and fears related to the fat stigma in the absence of overt discrimination. By linking Norbert Elias’s and George H. Mead’s theoretical frameworks, this paper offers a different approach to understanding and investigating felt stigma. The study is based on secondary data (25 semistructured interviews with children and adolescents). It explores internalized societal perspectives on overweight and obesity and inquires into the way in which interviewees handle the blame frame of personal responsibility during their interview. The preliminary findings suggest that specific forms of managing one’s self-presentation in interviews indicate felt stigma. Consequently, the paper argues for an analytical approach that extends the focus on the content of interviews to include its dynamics.

How family members manage risk around functional decline: The autonomy management process in households facing dementia
Brandon Berry, Ester Carolina Apesoa-Varano, and Yarin Gomez

Most dementia research investigates the social context of declining ability through studies of decision-making around medical treatment and end-of-life care. This study seeks to fill an important gap in research about how family members manage the risks of functional decline at home. Drawing on three waves of in-depth interviewing in 2012–2014, it investigates how family members in US households manage decline in an affected individual’s natural range of daily activities over time. The findings show that early on in the study period affected individuals were perceived to have awareness of their decline and routinely drew on family members for support.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.