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Alex Brewis

The Source of “Stigma”

The cliche in stigma scholarship: first, cite Goffman. Like this. And this. His work on stigma is mentioned so often, he is one of the most cited Sociologists ever. Mostly, he is referenced for his 1963 book, “Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity“. Usually the citation is about how he defined […]

Food insecurity, depression, and 20-20 hindsight

In a university has large and diverse as some cities, health disparities emerge on campus communities just as they do off campus. I have had the privilege over the last few years to be a collaborator on a large study of diet, exercise,and friendship among undergraduates on the Arizona State […]

The Other Reason Carrie Fisher is My Hero

This week Carrie Fisher passed away. I was 13 when I first saw Star Wars. A Princess who didn’t wear a ball-gown was a revelation. But Fisher wasn’t just a kick-ass role model for teen girls in parochial, misogynistic, 1970s New Zealand. Fisher, like all people with public appeal, had […]

Shit shame? Addressing open air defecation in Mozambique

Climate problems may not be the top priority of the incoming US administration. But their effects are pretty darn obvious in places like Paquetequete neighborhood, in northern Mozambique, where the effects of draught, flooding, cyclones, pollution, and disease fully collide.  I just got back from a fascinating visit to this and […]

The Global Heart-ache of (In)fertility

The statistics say that at any time some 1.5 million married women in the US are struggling with infertility (technically failure to get pregnant after a year of regular unprotected sex). As someone who wrote a dissertation on infertility decades ago, I have had many different stories shared with me over […]

Welcome to *Beautiful* South Korea!

South Korea is a land of great physical beauty. If you aren’t born with it, you are meant to create it.  Presentation matters here. Photos are part of job applications. “You have lost/gained weight!” is a standard greeting.  According to Project Implicit data, South Koreans have the highest explicit fat-stigma on the […]

The Cutting Edge of Weight Stigma Research

Last weekend I holed up with top scholars who study weight stigma — in lovely B and B in central Vancouver where O’Canada was penned, amid glorious spring weather. The happy group consisted of two sociologists (Ellen Granberg, Deborah Carr), four psychologists (Janet Tomiyama, Brenda Major, Gina Sutin, and Eric Robinson) […]

Slum tourism, empathy, and study abroad

At Emoya Estate in Bloemfontein, South Africa, visitors can experience what it is to live in a local village — heating your own water over a fire and using “a long drop effect” outside toilet. The corrugated iron chalets may look like poor people live in them, but they are carefully […]

Fear of Flying

I am currently on a long-haul flight ON business. But not IN business. (I work at a public university, after all.) Accordingly, my 20 hour trip was spent mostly in a 16.5 inch wide seat. But I am NOT complaining. It gives me a physical way to reflect on some […]

Breast Cancer, He-roes, and the Downsides of Pink Culture

My grandmother Venecie May died of breast cancer in 1945 at the age 41, leaving behind 5 very sad and confused children. The details of her illness were only whispered around them — a dreadful, embarrassing thing. So vague were those conversations that I didn’t learn what had killed her until […]