Injecting, infection, illness: Abjection and hepatitis C stigma

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Abstract
While social research has documented the prevalence and ill effects of hepatitis C related stigma, there has been little analysis of the ways in which this stigma is constituted. This article addresses this gap in the literature by providing a phenomenologically informed account of the ways in which societal attitudes and regulations draw from and feed back into corporeal processes and experiences of embodiment in the creation of hepatitis C related stigma. The case is made that three components are central to hepatitis C stigma: associations with illicit drug injecting, infectiousness and societal aversion to chronic illness. The article draws upon qualitative interviews with 40 people living with chronic hepatitis C in New Zealand and Australia, as well as the researcher’s embodied experience of living with the virus. The works of Julia Kristeva and Mary Douglas are utilized to provide an analysis that moves beyond acknowledgement of societal reinforcers of stigma, such as prohibitory drug laws, to address underlying notions of boundary crossing in the production of stigma and exclusionary practices.
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Harris, Magdalena
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Publication Year
2010
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Journal Article
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