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Stigmatised Health Issues in Scottish Fiction 1979-present

Stigmatised Health Issues in Scottish Fiction 1979-presentThis Wellcome Trust-funded project examines stigmatised health issues in contemporary Scottish literature (1979-present), in the context of neoliberalism and the so-called ‘Glasgow Effect’ (the phenomenon of poor health and high mortality in Scotland, even after accounting for socioeconomic factors). It focuses on mental ill-health/madness, alcohol use/alcoholism, and obesity/fatness, as these are commonly (and negatively) associated with Scottish public health, and indeed Scottishness itself, in the press and popular culture. The project explores how contemporary Scottish authors respond to representations of Scotland’s deficient public health and how they resist or reinforce stigmatisation. The research also considers newspaper articles published in Scotland, allowing for a richer understanding of the fiction’s relationship with its context. The project aims to enlarge both the Medical Humanities and Scottish literary and cultural studies by bringing them into dialogue.

Image Credit: Map of Scotland. Engraving, 4 February 1804. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY (Image has been resized to 164 x 198 pixels. License information available at

Funded by:  Wellcome Trust

Main contact:   Sarah Spence

Start date:  2017

End date:  2020


Keywords: Glasgow EffectLiteratureLiterature and MedicineMental healthPublic HealthScotlandStigma

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