9 Shame, Disgust and the Moral Economies of Young Women’s Sexual Health in the North of England

  • Louise Laverty


The range of austerity measures implemented in the UK following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 has been accompanied by, and justified through, emotive and stigmatising discourses that recast blame on those suffering the greatest inequalities (Clayton et al. 2015; Tyler 2013). As a number of authors have noted, heightened stigmatisation in recent UK public and political discourse has created a division between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor in society (Hancock and Mooney 2012; Tyler 2013; Wacquant 2009; Wacquant 2008). Most notably, as part of this shift in attitudes, poverty has been recast as the moral failure of the individual rather than the result of structural inequalities (Slater 2014; Valentine and Harris 2014; Wacquant 2008). This discourse is particularly evident in the UK’s Child Poverty Strategy (2011, p.4) where behavioural rather than structural causes are outlined. The cause of child poverty, according to this strategy, is ‘a lack of opportunity, aspiration and stability’ among children and their families, a lack that can be tackled by reducing criminality, teenage pregnancies and risky behaviour. To experience poverty, therefore, is to occupy a stigmatised social position (Ridge 2011; Ridge 2009; Sutton 2009) that people seek to distance and differentiate themselves from (Shildrick and MacDonald 2013).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Laverty
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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